Essence of Myanmar

A comprehensive 18-day journey which includes some of Myanmar’s lesser visited areas for encounters with traditional villagers and a better insight into the diversity of the country.

Highlights: Yangon – Golden Rock – Hpa An – Mandalay – Ayeyarwady River – Bagan – Kalaw – Inle Lake – Ngapali Beach 




Day 1

Arrive Yangon

You will be met at Yangon International airport and driven to your hotel. Afternoon tour of the historic heart of Yangon.

Downtown Yangon retains much of its colonial architecture, an impressive collection of late nineteenth and early twentieth-century buildings. Your guide will walk you through the back streets, explaining the history of buildings and ending with a drink at Rangoon Tea House, a cosy restaurant on Pansodan street, where many of Yangon’s expatriates of today meet up to socialise.

Day 2


Half day tour of Shwedagon Pagoda

So what’s behind the golden façade of the Shwedagon Pagoda? During this interactive half day tour we take you through the back door and show you the full history of the pagoda, the daily life of all people living in the immediate surroundings of the pagoda and a deeper insight in the Buddhist religion and how the spiritual belief is mixed with the belief in nats – the Myanmar spirits. The tour takes in the workshops, markets and monasteries which will be useful or even essential to understand more of the country during the rest of your journey.

The itinerary includes a traditional Burmese breakfast, offerings to monks and the pagoda visit, an opportunity to have your fortune told as well as lunch.

Day 3

Yangon – Golden Rock

Depart Yangon after breakfast by private car for the journey towards the state of Mon. There is an option to visit to the cemetery in Taukkyan where thousands of Southeast Asian and Allied prisoners of war who worked on the Thai-Burma death railway are commemorated.

On arrival at Kyaiktiyo basecamp you will board a crowded open-top truck full of local pilgrims to take you up the mountain as far as possible. The last part of the journey is a walk of about an hour and a half.

If the weather is clear, you will be rewarded with fine views for great photographs of the Golden Rock and the surrounding countryside.

Overnight at a local hotel.

Day 4

Golden Rock - Hpa An

Transfer to Hpa An: a journey by road, kayak and on foot.

The more remote areas of Mon State and Kayin State are undiscovered areas of Myanmar offering spectacular scenery and tribal peoples.

A journey includes a short trip by kayak through paddy fields for half an hour or so is followed by a walk of about an hour visiting jungle villages. From here we continue on foot (about 1½ hours) passing several other Kayin villages. Lunch is included at traditional local house.

Afternoon visit to Saddar Cave, with a large reclining statue of Buddha before continuing to the hotel or lodge.

2 nights' accommodation

Day 5

Exploring Hpa An.

We board a private boat for a cruise over the Thanlwin (Salween) River – one of the longest rivers in Myanmar ending in Mon State. As the river is quite narrow we have fantastic views on the river banks, a highlight of the trip through this part of Myanmar. We stop in Pa Lin village for a walk around this ethnic community with Kayin, Shan, Mon, Bamar and Pa'O people.

Continue by boat on the river and stop at a small jetty at U Na Auk village from where we take a tuk-tuk to visit carvings and decorations or the temples and ordination hall donated to the village by Mr Na Auk, a Mon trader in British colonial days, whose history is taught in every school.
After lunch at Mawlamyine, visit the Mon Museum and take a walk round town, where Orwell and Kipling lived. Also visit the Seindon Mibaya Monastery, a fine example of architecture with magnificent woodcarvings and decorations before returning by road to your hotel or lodge.

Day 6

Hpa An – Bago – Yangon; Fly to Mandalay.

Transfer back to Yangon via the rural villages and towns of Mon and Kayin State.

The itinerary includes a stop at Kawgun cave with clay statues of Buddha dating from the 7th century and a visit to the former Royal Palace at Bago before returning to the airport at Yangon in time to check-in for the flight to Mandalay.

You will be met on arrival at Mandalay and driven to your hotel.

Day 7

Mandalay - Ayeyarwady River Cruise

Morning tour to some of the key sights, starting with a journey to the top of Mandalay Hill for a great view over the Mandalay fort. We continue to Atumashi and the Shwenandaw monasteries and take in a visit to the Kuthodaw Pagoda with white marble slabs inscribed with Buddhist teachings.

Afternoon transfer to the jetty and board your cruise for the two-day journey by river to Bagan.

Day 8

Ayeyarwady River Cruise

Excursions from your riverboat to the pottery village at Yandabo and to see the Pandaw School. Evening tour of Pakokku by trishaw, a hybrid of tricycle and rickshaw.

Day 9


On arrival at Bagan you will be met by your guide for some sightseeing to the Minnathu village, east of the city, which specialises in the production of peanut and seasame oil. It is quiet and peaceful and an excellent spot for a picnic lunch before exploring the temples here.

Afternoon transfer to your hotel.

Day 10

Exploring Bagan's villages

A journey to discover village life in the local area.

Nyaung Gyi is the first village and we stop here to visit a local blacksmith. At Se Ywa we visit several local workshops (including a producer of cooking oil and to a maker of wooden slippers). Then we continue to Taung Kong village, known for its pottery.

Day 11

Bagan - Kalaw

An interesting trip to an Elephant Conservation project with options for a jungle trek from 30 minutes to 4 hours according to your preferences. After lunch you may want to help the mahout washing and feeding the elephants.

The journey continues to the former hill station at Kalaw.

Overnight at a local hotel.

Day 12

Kalaw - Lake Inle

Transfer Kalaw to Inle Lake by car. On the way, visit the ruins at Indein, partially covered by the forest. Lunch is served in a local house.

We continue towards the Nam Pan village for a very interesting trip by canoe before continuing by motorboat to your hotel.

Day 13

Exploring Inle Lake

The Intha people have been living for many centuries in a village built entirely on stilts on the lake. An excursion by private motorboat will enable you to discover the natural beauty of the lake, visiting floating gardens and seeing some of the indigenous fishermen who row with one leg wrapped around a bamboo pole.

On and around the lake traditional markets are held in different villages according to a 5-day rotating schedule and today we will take you to visit a colourful market frequented by Shan and PaO people living nearby. We will certainly also visit a local cheroot factory (where Burmese cigars are made), floating tomato gardens.

Day 14

Lake Inle

Cooking class with a local Intha family.

Visit the market to select all ingredients, travel by boat to the family home on stilts and help with cleaning vegetables, chopping, mixing, frying or boiling, adding the right herbs for simple, tasty home-cooked food from a local who has been cooking for her family all her life.

Days 15-17

Inle Lake – Heho – Thandwe - Ngapali Beach

Transfer to Heho airport for your flight to Thandwe, where you will be met for the short journey to Ngapali beach.

Three nights' accommodation

Day 18

Depart Myanmar

Transfer from your hotel at Ngapali in time to check in for your flight to Yangon and onward connection home.

The above sample Myanmar holiday can be varied in any way you choose to suit your exact requirements so give us a call now on 01932 424252 to discuss any modifications.

Hotels in Myanmar

Myanmar has a wide range of types & styles of hotels, at a variety of price-points to suit all budgets. Please chat to one of our Travel Consultants to get informed advice as to which hotels they would suggest for your tailor-made Myanmar holiday.

Included Tours, Excursions & Activities whilst on your Myanmar Holiday

The tours, excursions & activities mentioned in the above sample Myanmar holiday are just a selection of what is available in each location. The programme can be adjusted to fit your particular requirements for this holiday; please liaise with your Travel Consultant to confirm what other activities are available and what you would like to include in your tailor-made Myanmar holiday.

Duration of your Myanmar Holiday

If you like the broad sweep of the above sample Myanmar holiday but have either fewer days to spend, or wish to extend it in any way, please ask your Travel Consultant for ideas on how to shorten or lengthen the holiday, or how to reorganise the itinerary.

No-Obligation Quote

We would be delighted to email you a no-obligation, fully-detailed itinerary & quote, containing images of the hotels we suggest for your tailor-made Myanmar holiday along with a link to the hotel’s website, plus details of any included tours & excursions. The quote will clearly state what is, and what is not included in the quoted price. If you thereafter wish to make any changes to the initial itinerary – be it an alternative hotel, different activities, a different duration in any location etc. – that’s not a problem and we will continue to work with you to adjust the programme until it exactly matches what you’re looking for from your tailor-made Myanmar holiday.