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11 days

Highlights of Myanmar

Stand on top of Mount Popa overlooking the Bagan Plain and its countless pagodas and temples, sail on the peaceful Inle Lake and witness its beautiful sunsets.

Highlights of Myanmar Highlights of Myanmar
11 days

Highlights of Myanmar

Stand on top of Mount Popa overlooking the Bagan Plain and its countless pagodas and temples, sail on the peaceful Inle Lake and witness its beautiful sunsets.

Why choose this tour

  • Take in the view of the small villages, sacred temples and pagodas of the Bagan Plain from the top of the majestic extinct volcano, Mount Popa
  • Spend a day on the scenic, peaceful Inle Lake and learn how the locals catch fish and grow vegetables on the floating fields
  • Witness the sunset over Mandalay and discover Amarapura’s burgundy-robed monks and Mingun’s unfinished pagoda with the world’s largest cast iron bell
  • Sail down the Irrawaddy River with its rare Irrawaddy dolphins and see Yangon’s lovely colonial buildings and gold-plated pagodas side by side

Our prices always include

  • All international and domestic flights
  • All destination transfers
  • All specified excursions and activities
  • All accommodations

The tour in short

On this tour, you will experience all of the absolute highlights of Myanmar: the countless religious pagodas and temples on the plains, the colonial buildings of the big cities and thousands of Buddha statues of all sizes. You venture out along dusty dirt tracks to villages, where you meet the local farmers with heavy yokes over their shoulders, fields being manually cultivated, as well as smiling women and curious children.

Myanmar’s beautiful verdant scenery is perfectly complimented by the amazing sunsets, which are just one of the country’s unforgettable experiences. You can really look forward to experiencing picture-postcard sunsets, where the warm colours of the heavens embrace the religious buildings, their spires towering into the sky.

You visit temples and temple complexes, Buddhist monasteries and the monks living in them, and lots of pagodas – both those that remain as they were in their heyday and the smaller ones which are unfortunately marked by the passage of time.

What is included in the price?
This package includes the following
  • Return flights from the UK to Yangon
  • 4 domestic flights: Yangon to Bagan, Bagan to Mandalay, Mandalay to Heho and Heho to Yangon
  • Transfers to and from airports
  • Welcome gift with postcard, welcome book and traditional bag
  • Local English-speaking guide on the tour
  • 8 nights at 3 and 4-star hotels:
  • 8 x breakfast (days 3-10)
  • 7 x lunch (days 3-8)
  • Travelling in a car or minibus with air conditioning on excursions
  • 24-hour manned emergency telephone throughout the tour
  • ATOL certificate included
  • Departure guarantee – the tour will take place regardless of the number of participants

Comprehensive package of excursions:

  • Sightseeing on the Bagan plain with its 2,000+ religious pagodas and temples
  • Visit to the lacquerware factory, which is especially unique to Bagan
  • Shwezigon Pagoda, Ananda Temple, Dhammayangyi Temple and Nat Taung Kyaung Monastery
  • Excursion to Mount Popa “Home of the Nats (spirits)” and the gold-plated temple complex at the top
  • Boat trip on the Irrawaddy River to Mingun Pagoda and the Mingun bell
  • Shwenandaw Monastery, also known as the Golden Palace
  • Mahagandayon Monastery and the teak U Bein Bridge in Amarapura
  • Sagaing Hill and a horse-drawn carriage ride around Ava
  • The Pindaya caves with their 8,094 Buddha figures
  • Boat trip on Inle Lake, visiting floating villages and the floating Phaung Daw Oo Pagoda
  • Visit to the colonial area of Yangon and to the high Shwedagon Pagoda
  • Admission fees to the sights and attractions mentioned
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Gallery
Detailed Itinerary
Day 1: Flights from the UK

Departure from the chosen airport in the UK to Yangon in Myanmar. There will be connecting flights on the way.

Day 2: Arrival in Yangon

After arriving at Yangon International Airport, you will pick up your luggage and go through immigration. Your guide is waiting for you in the arrivals hall, holding up an Asiatours sign, and you will be driven to your hotel.

After checking in at the hotel, you can relax after the long flight or explore the city.

Compared to the rest of South-east Asia, Yangon is in many ways an unusual city. It doesn’t have a lot of skyscrapers, and the city is very green, with a lot of shady trees, including some very old teak trees. The city also possesses the special charm that arises when colonial buildings and churches are interspersed with Hindu temples, Buddhist stupas and Muslim mosques. The city has the largest number of colonial buildings in South-east Asia, most of which are located in the remarkably intact city centre, which also houses the more than 2,000-year-old Sule Pagoda and the incredibly tall Shwedagon Pagoda.

Yangon’s population of 7+ million makes the city the country’s largest, offering ample opportunity to form a good first-hand impression of Myanmar’s Buddhist culture and interesting history.

Day 3: Yangon – Bagan, sightseeing on the Bagan plain

After breakfast, you return to the airport and fly to Bagan – the country’s largest archaeological site and one of Myanmar’s most breathtaking experiences. You will be picked up from the airport and driven to your accommodation, after which you will be heading out to explore the interesting sights of the Bagan plain.

Bagan is located on the Irrawaddy River and was the capital of the first Burmese kingdom. In its heyday, around 1,000 years ago, the city extended over an area of more than 40 km² – a size that corresponds to a reasonably large city today, but which back then was incomparable with similar cities. Today, Bagan itself is just a small provincial town, but you can still sense the immense wealth of the ancient city, especially when standing atop a pagoda or temple, looking out over the Bagan plain and the hundreds of towering spires of the religious buildings.

The entire area, with more than 2,000 religious pagodas and temples, was built between the 11th and 13th centuries, becoming a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1996. Along the dusty gravel roads through the plain, horse-drawn carriages carry tourists, while local farmers transport their wares to and from the markets in their ox-carts. Time has left its mark on many of the buildings in the area, and earthquakes in particular have destroyed several monuments, but the authorities endeavour to keep the most important of them restored.

The day’s experiences start with a visit to a colourful local market. The tour then heads to a lacquerware factory, where the beautiful, smooth lacquerware is made, which is especially unique to Bagan and the most famous of Myanmar’s handicrafts. Out on the Bagan plain, you will also visit Shwezigon Pagoda, Ananda Temple, Dhammayangyi Temple and the unique Taung Kyaung Nat Taung monastery, which is built in teak.

The day ends with the unique experience of watching the sun set over the plain and the hundreds of spires being embraced by the warm colours of the sky.

Day 4: Visit to a local village and excursion to Mount Popa

Today, you will visit a charming little village on the Bagan plain, followed by an outing to the free-standing Mount Popa.

The day starts with a visit to a local village, where you have ample opportunity to observe the everyday life of the locals and learn about a little about their lives. Along the way, you drive through lush farmland, making a few stops to experience the cottage industry – the production of palm sweets, for example. You will probably see women hauling goods on a yoke over their shoulders, fields being cultivated and farmers hacking weeds by hand in the fields. In the village, you experience life as it is lived by many of the Myanmarese. You also visit a small local factory in the village, and if time permits, the local school as well. From the village’s pagoda, which is set on a small hill, you can enjoy panoramic views of the surroundings before heading for Mount Popa.

Mount Popa is an extinct volcano which stands pronounced and majestic, like a column in the flat landscape, its summit around 1,500 metres above sea level. On your arrival at the foot of the mountain, you have 777 steps to climb up to the gold-plated temple complex at the top, from which you can enjoy the magnificent views of the flat landscape. In the temple complex, there are several different temples for particular spirits  believed by the praying Burmese Buddhists to reside in the mountain. It is for this reason that Mount Popa is also known as “Home of the Nats (spirits)”. This particular belief in the spirits is one of the points where Burmese Buddhists differ from other Buddhists.

The day rounds off with a boat trip on the mighty waterway, the Irrawaddy River, while the sun sets on the horizon.

Optional tours

How about experiencing the Bagan Plain from above? Float in the hot air balloon over the hundreds of religious temples and pagodas in the glow of the sunrise. This is a truly breathtaking experience and an adventurous way to start the day. Interested? Book well in advance as the balloon ride in Bagan is a very popular excursion.

Day 5: Bagan – Mandalay, excursion in Mandalay

You will be picked up from your hotel and driven to the airport, from where you will fly to Mandalay.

Mandalay is Myanmar’s second largest city and its second “capital”. The city was the last royal capital of the kingdom of Burma and is today the centre of Burmese culture and its sense of self. The city’s central location in the country and along the mighty Irrawaddy River made it a trading centre for the whole country.

After arriving in Mandalay, you drive to the Irrawaddy River to sail to Mingun. During the boat ride, which takes around an hour, you can enjoy the fascinating landscape along the river and the many boats with their coloured sails on the river. It is especially fascinating to observe when the boats dock at the makeshift jetties and the women rush forth to sell their wares.

In Mingun, you visit the unfinished pagoda of the same name. The pagoda was begun by King Bodawpaya in 1790, but only the foundations were finished as an astrologer predicted that the king would die when the pagoda was completed. Had construction of Mingun Pagoda not been stopped, it would have been the world’s largest, but instead the foundations were destroyed by an earthquake in 1839. However, the 90-tonne cast iron bell that should have hung in the stupa at the top of the pagoda was finished. Today, the Mingun bell is still the largest in the world. In Mingun, you also see the unusual, all-white Mya Thein Tan Pagoda, which is made up of undulating terraces.

After your visit to Mingun, you will sail back to Mandalay, where you will continue on a sightseeing tour. On this tour, you visit some traditional craftsmen such as the goldsmith, where gold leaf is beaten for sale as offerings at the temples. You will also discover Kuthodaw Pagoda, which contains the world’s largest book of 1,460 pages in stone, and the Shwenandaw Monastery, also called the Golden Palace, which is one of Myanmar’s most beautiful carved wooden monasteries, once covered in gold leaf both inside and out.

You end the day enjoying the sunset from the top of Mandalay Hill, where you can also enjoy the view of the city and the Shan plain.

Day 6: Excursion to Amarapura, Sagaing and Ava

Today’s experiences start in Amarapura, one of Myanmar’s old capitals. You visit a silk weaving mill and Mahagandayon Monastery, where you can experience the daily life of more than 1,000 Buddhist monks, which consists of Buddhist studies and their regular daily chores.

From here, you head to Sagaing, which was briefly the capital after the collapse of Bagan. From Sagaing Hill, you can see the fascinating landscape through which the Irrawaddy River flows, and more than 700 monasteries and nunneries close to the hill and spread across the plain. From Sagaing, you proceed to Ava, where you explore the area in a horse-drawn carriage. On this tour, you visit the Nan Myint Tower and the Bagaya Monastery, which rests on 267 teak posts.

The final activity of the day is back in Amarapura, where you experience the sunset from the U Bein bridge, which is made of teak.

Day 7: Mandalay – Heho – Pindaya – Inle

Today you fly on to Heho, from where you drive to the town of Pindaya, located 1,200 metres above sea level and known for its limestone caves. On the tour, you pass through one of Myanmar’s hilly areas, where you discover a landscape of vegetable fields, some of which are cultivated on terraces. In Pindaya, you visit the caves, which house 8,094 Buddha figures made in everything from teak and marble to brick and cement. A visit to Pindaya is not complete without a visit to a small factory that manufactures traditional Burmese paper umbrellas.

You then continue the just under 100 km journey down to Inle Lake. Along the way, you visit Shwe Yan Pyay Monastery, a typical Shan monastery built in wood around 500 years ago. Here, you will find more than 700 small pictures of Buddha painted by the Shan people. During the day, you stop for lunch at a local restaurant. On your arrival at Inle, you will be driven to your accommodation.

Day 8: Inle

The entire day is spent at Inle Lake – one of the absolute highlights of the tour. The lake is 900 metres above sea level, 22 km long and 11 km wide and surrounded by mountains in all directions. It is one of the world’s most scenically situated lakes and its water is almost always completely still.

The lake is incredibly rich in nutrients with many aquatic plants, which takes some adjusting to. You can’t, for example, row and fish in the usual way. Local sailors on the lake propel themselves forward by means of an extremely sophisticated rowing technique. The person stands on one leg with the other leg wrapped around an oar, with which he then pushes himself forwards in the water. All over the lake, you will encounter fishermen who use a unique fishing method, as ordinary nets cannot be used due to all the aquatic plants.

Inle Lake is very shallow, and the aquatic plants are therefore also seen as a resource rather than a problem. The plants are actually fished out of the water and transformed into oblong floating “fields”. The floating fields are about a metre wide and are used to grow the most wonderful vegetables, such as tomatoes, cucumbers, melons and many others besides. On the lake, you will also sail past villages on stilts, the floating Phaung Daw Oo Pagoda, silk weaving mills and the unique lotus weavers.

During the day, you visit the Phao village Inn Thein, which is located on a small canal off Inle Lake. A tour of the village offers a visit to the local school, a walk to the Alaung Sitthou area, where the ancient stupas are partially covered in plants, as well as a magnificent view of the lake while walking along a charming bamboo grove.

Day 9: Inle – Yangon

Today, you will be driven to the airport in Heho and fly back to Yangon. After your arrival, you will be taken to the hotel to check in, after which you will head off on adventure in Yangon. You can look forward to a train ride on the authentic circular train and a visit to Yangon’s colonial area in the city centre and the tall Shwedagon Pagoda.

Shwedagon Pagoda’s beautiful gold-plated spires towering high into the sky can be seen from most places in Yangon. The 2,500-year-old pagoda is one of the most sacred sites for Buddhists as it is said to house eight sacred strands of Buddha’s hair. The area around the pagoda is permeated by breathtaking ambience of calm and humility, and it is also possible to see the Buddhists praying and offering everything from flowers and cooked rice to water.

The rest of the day is yours to do as you please.

Day 10: Home from Yangon

The day is your own to do as you please before departure. You will be picked up from the hotel and driven to the airport. From here, you fly from Yangon to the UK, with connecting flight(s) on the way.

Day 11: Arrival in the UK

You land in the UK after an eventful and exciting holiday in Myanmar.

Single room supplement £221
Special offers for groups of 6 or more. Request a quote today for more info.
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