The Magic of Myanmar
15 Days / 14 Nights
Yangon – Bagan – Mandalay – Heho – Kalaw – Shan Hills overnight trekking – Inle Lake – Yangon
Discover the daily life of Yangon on a walking tour. Continue to Dalah, tour Bagan and the surrounding villages by bike, spend some time in a monastery, discover the ancient kingdoms around Mandalay, then head to an elephant camp, trek in the Shan hills, take part in a cooking class at Inle Lake and continue by bike to discover the villages around the lake.
Our itineraries are suggestions and are fully customisable according to your needs, interests and budget.
Treat these itineraries as inspiration and one of our experts will create your uniquely tailored holiday with your requests in mind so that you can truly experience Myanmar with Seven Senses.
Day 1. Arrive Yangon (-/-/-)
Upon arrival at Yangon airport, you will be welcomed by your guide and transferred to your hotel. Later in the day we will drive downtown to the Central Post Office from where you will start your walking tour. Walk along Strand Road passing by the landmark Strand Hotel and the Pansodan Jetty. See the daily life of the local people including workers, busy street vendors and the shoppers during rush hour. Go up Pansodan Street famous for some of Yangon’s most impressive colonial buildings. Arrive at Mahabandoola Road from where you have the perfect view on Sule Pagoda, City Hall and the High Court. Cross the greens of Mahabandoola Garden and continue to 31st street well known for second hand book shops as well as typical historical shop houses. Continue your walk by discovering the gold shops of Shwe Bontha Street and from there head to Bogyoke (Scott's) Market with hundreds of food, clothes, handicrafts and gems stores (closed on Mondays and on public holidays).
In the afternoon, cross to the animated Indian District of Anawrahta Road to reach a Hindu Temple. Stop for a refreshing drink at a typical Myanmar tea shop crowded with people who have completed the day’s tasks. Go further down on Kon Zay Dan Street and complete your walking tour in the busy area of Chinatown visiting a Chinese Temple. Drive to the Shwedagon Pagoda and visit one of the world’s most spectacular monuments. View the sunset here, spend time walking around and exploring this amazing site, then return to your hotel.
Total walking time approximately: 4½ h.
Day 2. Yangon - Dalah - Yangon (B/-/-)
After breakfast, proceed to the jetty and cross the Yangon River in a local ferry. You get to Dalah, an area at the entrance to the delta of the Irrawaddy River. Here the image of the urban district of Yangon change into rice fields, unpaved streets and traditional houses. The Delta is a very fertile area of lush vegetation, crossed by rivers, canals, lakes and watercourses. In Dalah your tour continues in a trishaw, the traditional Burmese transport, a kind of bicycle taxi to explore the streets of the original village in a local way. On the way back you can enjoy an unusual panoramic view of the city of Yangon from the opposite bank of the river. This trip gives you an insight into other aspects of daily life in Yangon and the surrounding area.
Day 3. Yangon - Bagan (B/-/-)
After breakfast, you will be transferred to the airport for your domestic flight to Bagan.
Upon arrival to Bagan Nyaung U Airport, your bicycles will be ready for your biking tour through old Bagan and the surrounding region. First you will bike to the nearest small town of Nyaung Oo to visit the local market. Continue to old Bagan on the historical roads overshadowed by magnificent trees and commence with the visit of the most important temples and pagodas. See the Shwezigon Pagoda built by King Anawrahta in the early 11th century as a religious shrine, Ku Byauk Gyi, a temple with superb murals of Jataka scenes, and Ananda Temple with its four magnificent standing Buddha images. As it gets very hot in Bagan at noon time we recommend returning to the hotel for a rest, but the choice is entirely up to your preferences.
Mid afternoon, bike to Myinkaba Village where you have the possibility to visit one of the famous lacquer ware craftsmen’s workshop and experience the bustling activities of the village. See Manuha Temple built in Mon style in 1059 and follow on to Nanbaya Temple, a unique sandstone monument said to have been the palace of King Manuha. Choose one of the more off the beaten track pagodas to climb on top and view the sunset over the plain of Bagan dotted with more than 2,000 temples.
Distance - 35 to 40 km
Cycling hours - 4½ to 5 h
Day 4. Bagan (B/-/-)
After breakfast, proceed by bike to the monastery by the bank of the Ayeyarwaddy River where you will be able to observe the educational as well as religious side of monkhood. Your guide will give you some suitable accessories in order to donate to the monks. The monastery compound is spacious, clean and quite pleasant to sit for a while under the shady trees looking at the beauty of the majestic Ayeyarwaddy River. At lunch time, donate Soon (meal for monks), which will be the last meal for that day for the monks. Bagan is not only a site of thousand years old temples and pagodas, but also home to several local villages scattered around the temple dotted plains.
Bike along small dirt tracks and tree shaded roads past temple sites and monasteries to Taung Bi village. Visit the village hairdresser and a local tea shop. Continue by bike along the Ayeyarwaddy River. Visit some family businesses including soya bean paste making, blacksmiths, dry snack ‘factories’ and bamboo roof producers. These people practice generations old traditions and trade. Complete the day by choosing one of the more off the beaten track pagodas. Climb up to the roof top terrace for a magical moment, as the sun sets into the horizon of distant mountain ranges and more than 2,000 temples and pagodas.
Distance - 35 to 40 km
Cycling hours - 4½ to 5 h
Day 5. Bagan - Satsat Yo Village (B/-/-)
Breakfast at the hotel. Next to religious sites, village life is one of the main attractions of Bagan. People from all over the world have come to see how the people of the villages in the area have their own special culture and customs, festivals and beliefs and their cottage industries. Sat Sat Yo village which is located about 45 minutes drive from Bagan is special among the tourists for village children who is sporting the country's ancient hairstyle called “Sanyitwyne”. Before colonial rule, all of the country's boys and girls wore their hair in this manner. This village is the only place left in Myanmar where children still have their hair tied in this traditional style.
Transfer by car to the starting point and continue biking (approx. 1h) along the small lane that leads to the village passing through the farms. Upon arrival at the village, meet with the children at the village monastery and explore around this charming village. After that, bike back to the main road where the car is waiting for you to transfer you back to your hotel.
In the afternoon, a colorfully decorated ox-cart is waiting to show you more of Bagan's ancient temples in the traditional way of transportation used by people in Myanmar's countryside. Enjoy sunset over the plains and mountains of Bagan while cruising on the Ayeyarwaddy River.
Day 6. Bagan - Mandalay (B/-/-)
After breakfast, you will be transferred to the airport for your domestic flight to Mandalay.
Upon arrival in Mandalay, you will experience the sights and sounds of Mandalay such as the Shwe Inbin Monastery, the Golden Palace Monastery, a superb example of a traditional wooden building, and the Kuthodaw Pagoda, where you will find the world’s largest book made of marble. Visit also one of the most revered religious monuments in Myanmar, the Mahamuni Pagoda. Further, observe the booming businesses of Mandalay's famous traditional craftsmanship, which have partly turned into large scale industries such as jade cutting and polishing at the Jade Market, traditional puppet making, hand woven "Kalaga" (embroidered tapestries), wood carving, sculpturing marble and casting bronze images, traditional gold leaf making and temple ornaments and paraphernalia.
Depending on your wish, continue to an astrologer (please note that the astrologer might ask for a donation directly from clients). View the sunset from Mandalay Hill.
Day 7. Amarapura - Ava - Sagaing (B/-/-)
After breakfast, excursion to Amarapura, 15 km from Mandalay to visit Mahagandayon Monastery where more than a thousand monks live and study. Time permitting you will have the opportunity to observe the monks having their last meal of the day in total silence. Continue to 200-year-old U Bein teak bridge built in 1782 when Amarapura was the Royal Capital. From the early days the city was known for its silk- and cotton weaving. Visit a traditional hand-woven silk workshop before proceeding to Bagaya Monastery, a compound with a superb collection of Buddha statues.
In the afternoon, embark for a short boat ride over Myit Nge stream and start exploring the former Royal Capital Inwa (Ava) by horse cart. Visit Nanmyint Watch Tower, the remains of the ancient palace building, also known as “the leaning tower of Ava“, Maha Aungmye Bonzan Monastery built of brick and stucco, Bargayar Monastery famous for its impressive ornate woodcarvings and teak posts. Continue then to Sagaing Hills, a retreat for Buddhist devotees for sunset.
Day 8. Mandalay - Heho - Green Hill Valley Elephant Camp - Kalaw (B/L/-)
After breakfast you will be transferred to the airport for your domestic flight to Heho.
Upon arrival at Heho Airport, drive to the Magwe elephant camp (approx. 2h drive). The Elephant Camp was founded in 2011 by a family with a history of working with elephants in the Myanmar Timber Enterprise (MTE). The focus is primarily on providing care for elephants that are no longer fit to work.
Reforestation is another one of the camp's guiding principles. Each visitor is invited to plant a tree from our nursery. The idea is not only to encourage forest recovery, but also to educate the local community about the importance of reforestation and risks posed by haphazard deforestation.
You can spend time with the elephants, feed them, then the team will lead you to the river to bath the elephants where you can join in and help washing the elephants being in close contact with them. Lunch will be served at the main camp.
You may explore around the forest area, opportunity to see butterflies, birds and orchids in the conservation area.
Return to main camp and enjoy the view of the valley.
In the late afternoon, drive back to Kalaw and transfer to your hotel.
Day 9. Kalaw - Shan Hills Trekking (B/L/D)
After an early breakfast, we will drive 40 minutes to Thayatpu Village and start your walking tour to La Mon Kwe village, en-route passing through some interesting scenery on a narrow, winding and bumpy road through the Shan Hills. Continue your trek to Palaung Villages on the rim of the mountains. Simple boxed lunch will be provided.
Enjoy trekking through mountain plantations and the scenic surroundings. Proceed to War Kyi Myaung village.
Simple dinner will be served. Overnight stay at the old monastery in the village.
Day 10. Shan Hills - Inle Lake (B/L/-)
After a local style breakfast, hike through Shan local villages, which sit on the mountainous area dotted with farms and bamboo forests. Trek through Ye U villages and finally you will reach Khaung Daing Village located beside a magnificent lake. Lunch will be served at a local restaurant.
Observe the unique lifestyle of the Intha people on the shore of Inle Lake and admire the scenery. After lunch, board a boat for the transfer to your hotel.
This is essentially a soft adventure trekking tour. A good physical condition is necessary for the daily treks. The walking times depend on the physical condition of the participants. Many of the treks have a different starting and ending point, guests who feel that the trekking period and elevation is too tiresome for their physical condition should inform the guide prior to starting the trek in order to arrange an alternative itinerary. We reserve the right to change the visit of villages in order to avoid sending crowds of tourists to the same villages. Due to adverse weather conditions and monsoon rains this itinerary is not suitable between the months of June to September.
Day 11. Inle Lake (B/-/-)
After breakfast, commence an excursion by boat on the Inle Lake. See the famous Inthar leg rowers, floating gardens, local methods of fishing, village life and magnificent scenery. You will visit the Phaungdaw Oo Pagoda, one of the most sacred shrines in Myanmar, dating back to the 18th century, the Nga Phe Monastery, famous for its beautiful collection of ancient Buddha statues, the weaving village of Inpawkhon and one of the local markets in the Inle Lake region (on market days only).
Optional cooking class at Inthar heritage house:
After breakfast, you will be transferred to the Inthar Heritage House for a special Burmese cookery class. On arrival, you will be served welcome drinks and taken to the cooking area. Then the chef of the Inthar Heritage House will explain about the class, introducing you to the ingredients and cooking methods used. After the introduction, continue to the delightful organic gardens and pick the ingredients for the meal before you start cooking. The class will take about 2 hours and at the end you will sit down to enjoy what you have created for lunch. The Inthar Heritage House promotes the heritage of Inle cultures and supports sustainable development in the Inle region. After your lunch, you have an opportunity to observe their various different conservation projects, including Burmese cat conservation, a Lake Species Aquarium, a Vocational Training Centre and environment-friendly agriculture.
Day 12. Inle Lake - Indein (B/-/-)
After breakfast, board your boat to the western shore of the lake where you will find the beginning of a stair path leading to the Indein Pagoda complex. Visit one of the most amazing historical sights on the shore of the lake consisting of hundreds of small stupas overgrown by moss and greens. Continue on foot to a village nearby where several crops are grown in traditional ways. Walk in an easy pace along one of the many creeks passing through rice fields to the village of Sae Ma. Visit the primary school of the village where you have the possibility to meet the children and teachers to observe their way of learning and teaching (during break time on school days only). Walk back along the creek to Indein or take a boat to the Paungdaw Oo Pagoda. Walk across to the weaving village of Tha Le, and in the afternoon, meet the people in the villages on the lake and travel to one of the monasteries to observe the monastic activities.
Return to the hotel by boat.
Optional biking tour:
Pick up from your hotel after breakfast and transfer to Ton Le village on the western shore where the bike team is waiting for you. After familiarizing yourself with the bike, start the gentle cycling to Taung Bo Kyi and visit the monastery, a school (only on school days), the village and people at work and many other things which are all exotic to outsiders. You will have the opportunity to meet the friendly local people and talk to them through the guide about their life, traditions, culture and other topics. Than cycling through Lae-Pyin and Than-Taung to Myay Ni Kone village where you can study the whole process of making rice cracker (Monte-Kyaut-Hnan-Htoo). It is one of the most famous snack on the lake. Take a boat back to your hotel.
Approx. cycling hours
Ton Le village – Myay Ni Kone - 2,5 hours
Day 13. Inle Lake - Sagar (B/-/-)
After breakfast, proceed by boat to Nampan Village. Continue by boat on a 2-3 hour journey through lake and river sceneries to the southern part of Inle Lake where time has stood still and the ethnic populations of Pa-O, Inthar and Shan have remained untouched by modern civilization. Walk through several villages on the shore that produce local goods such as pottery, bamboo ware, sugar cane, handwoven cloth, alcohol and much more. Visit the ancient pagoda sight of Sagar and Tha Kong built in the 17th century in typical Shan style. On market days, take part in the local market activities where hill tribe folks meet the lake population. Return to your hotel by boat.
Day 14. Inle Lake - Heho - Yangon (B/-/-)
After breakfast, transfer by boat to Nyaung Shwe and overland to Heho Airport (32 km – 1 hour) for a domestic flight back to Yangon. Upon arrival in Yangon, visit the Kaba Aye (World Peace) Pagoda and then proceed to the riverside located Botataung Pagoda. Depending on your wish, transfer to Yangon’s Central Station for a train journey on the circular ‘commuter’ train line (about 30 minutes; please take note that the trains are very basic, often crowded and their schedule not reliable). You will get off at Kyi Myin Daing station and immerse yourself in this lively local Myanmar neighborhood where today’s more modern lifestyle mixes with old traditions. Visit the colorful roadside market and join the locals in a tea shop where they discuss important issues of the day. Later, transfer to your hotel.
Day 15. Departure (B/-/-)
After breakfast, check out and transfer to the airport for your departure flight.
The itinerary may be subject to change depending on circumstances.
15 DAYS / 14 NIGHTS FROM £3,250 pp
based on 2 people travelling together
The price includes:
Twin sharing Accommodation in a double/twin room in the following deluxe hotels:
Yangon: Sule Shangri La Hotel (****, Deluxe room) or similar
Bagan: Tharabar Gate Hotel (****, Deluxe room) or similar
Mandalay: Mandalay Hill Resort Hotel (****, Deluxe room) or similar
Kalaw: Amara Mountain Resort (***, Deluxe room) or similar
Inle Lake: Pristine Lotus Resort (****, Inle Lotus Villa) or similar
Quality private air-con vehicles & experienced drivers for all transfers and sightseeing.
Experienced English-speaking local guides throughout the tour.
Domestic flights Yangon-Bagan-Mandalay-Heho-Yangon.
Private boat at Inle sightseeing.
Entrance fees for all listed attractions.
Meals as stated in the itinerary (B/L/D) = (Breakfast/Lunch/Dinner). (Breakfast only for the whole trip except 1 lunch during elephant camp visit, 2 lunches and 1 dinner during Shan Hills trekking which are already included in program)
The price does not include:
Return flights from the UK to Myanmar. Request a quote from us.
Anything not specifically mentioned above.
Optional tours, camera fees.
Tips to the guide and driver, porters and waiters.
Visa fee for Myanmar.
Personal costs such as drinks, laundry, etc.
Peak season surcharges
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