This is how your first-time Myanmar trip goes...
- Hop on a train and visit where Aung San Suu Kyi was put under house arrest
- Sunsets of a lifetime: over the U Bein Bridge, Bagan temples and at Mandalay Hill
- Approach to monks during their daily rituals in some monasteries
- Take a boat trip in Inle Lake through the floating gardens and villages
- Pick a day out of the 5-day market rotation in villages of Shan
- Private transfers and English-speaking tour guides
- All guided sightseeing as detailed in the itinerary
- Hotel accommodation mentioned in the itinerary
- Breakfasts at hotels and lunches for every guided day
- Governmental taxes
Itinerary in detail
You are reading a demonstration of a first-time journey that covers the four must-visit places. Feel free to patch in your thoughts.
Day 1 Yangon Arrival, Myanmar
Being isolated for so many years, Myanmar remains a land of less-touched highlights. Today you will arrive in Yangon Mingaladon Airport and be greeted by your private tour guide and driver. Transfer to hotel for rest.
Day 2 Yangon | Days of Burma and Myanmar
Nowadays, many locals still stick to its formerly-known name as Burma; give yourself a chance to learn how the history has made the country as the way it is.
Hop on Yangon Circular Train in the morning. It is the fundamental transport means for people in Yangon to get around. During the 30 minutes of slow riding, you will be exposed to interesting daily life and different people from various social classes. Private car will pick you up at a small station and take you to the National Museum.
Have some local cuisine for lunch. Proceed to Chaukhtatyi Paya, where a giant Buddha image reclining on the ground. Stop at Aung San Suu Kyi House, where she has been held captive for over 15 years.
Despite its modest scale, U Thant House offers a comprehensive insight at the former UN secretary's life. When sky turns dark, here comes the best time to visit Shwedagon Pagoda.
Day 3 Yangon - Mandalay | The Nation's Primary Academic Seat for Buddhism
Take a morning flight to Mandalay. Check in hotel and have some time to rest. Our sightseeing tour starts in the afternoon, after a lunch on at a local restaurant.
Mandalay is a city breathing the air of Buddhism and our first stop will be Shwenandaw Monastery. This exquisite monastery used to be a part of the royal palace and a textbook example of royal teak wood architecture.
Saunter in the ground of Kuthodaw Pagoda and the World's Largest Book and your tour guide will explain some scripture carved in the tablets of the "book". As the sun slowly dims out, you will get onto the top of the Mandalay Hill and enjoy a sunset view of the city.
Day 4Mandalay | Early Morning at Mahamuni and Peaceful Ancient City
Hope you had a good sleep last night. Today we will start early at 4 o' clock in the morning to watch the "Face-Washing Ceremony" at Mahamuni Pagoda.
Every morning before the sun even rises, local believers will offer fresh towels, food and other items brought from their homes to the deity. The presiding monk will firstly wash the face of the Buddha image, followed by one sequence of brushing its teeth and apply some sandalwood paste on the Buddha's face before cleaning again with scented water. The devotee who brings the towel gets to take it back to his own home shrine after the ritual is over.
After the ritual, you will return to your hotel for breakfast. Afterwards, we will set out on the road to Amarapura. On the way, you will see monks getting around the villages to collect alms, which contributes their daily austerities and food.
Driving out of Mandalay, you will be in time to visit Mahagandayon Monastery when thousands of monks waiting in line for their lunch. Most tourists come at 10:30am and the place gets really crowded. We will pick a later hour to visit to avoid the crowd. What's more, you will have a chance to offer alms to those young noivices at the back of the line, who rarely get any alms when the big crowd clears away before noon.
Inwa Ancient City, was the imperial city of Burma from the 14th to 19th centuries. Take a horse cart to get around the ancient city with many royal remains and religous sites, including Ava Palace, Maha Aungmye Bonzan Monastery and Yadana Hsimi Pagodas.
Getting back to Amarapura, you will take a boat trip under the U Bein Bridge for a breath-taking sunset view.
Day 5Mandalay - Bagan | Bagan on the Rural Side
Take an early flight to Nyaung U Airport and transfer to your hotel in Bagan.
This afternoon, we will stretch out to Minanthu Village, a peaceful village about 7km southeast of Bagan. It sees fewer travelers and remains a quiet village where people make a living by tradition handcrafts such as lacquer ware and weaving. You will also see some Chin women who tattoo their faces as a way to distinguish their group, social and marital status and possibly age.
Later, visit Kyat Khayon Cave Monastery. This underground monastery is located outside the old Bagan and was built to isolate the monks and novices from the outside world for better training.
Day 6Bagan | Epic Scenary of Temples and Pagodas in Bagan
Listed as a World Heritage Site, Bagan Archaeological Zone is simply astonishing with its over 2,200 ruins scattering on the vast plain of Bagan. There used to be more than 10,000 in its day of prime and most are of 10 centuries old. Some are large and tall while others are hidden among the grass and hard to spot out.
Today you will visit Ananda Pagoda, Dhammayangyi Pagoda, Maha Bodhi Pagoda and possibility to get around by bike. At dusk, you will get up to one of the pagodas to view amazing sunset over the plain.
The best sunset viewing points, allowing a panoramic view of the archaeological zone would be Shwesandaw Pagoda and Pyathatgyi Pagoda. Shwesandaw is very popular among tourists while Pyathatgyi offers you a chance to get inside the pagoda.
* Optional: Hot Air Balloon Flight:
Flying up in the sky, overlooking all the temples at sunrise, a 1-hour hot air balloon ride can be something special to tell your friends back home. It is available for booking during October to next March, morning time schedule every day and sunset flight upon request.
Day 7Bagan - Inle Lake | Life above Water
After some free time in the morning, you will be taken to Nyaung U Airport for onward flight to Heho Airport, 40 minutes away to Inle Lake. Transfer to your hotel and free at leisure. In the afternoon, we will take a boat trip in Inle Lake to observe local life.
Boat is the premier means of transportation in Inle Lake. Although most boats are installed with noisy diesel motors, the local fishermen still prefer an old-school rowing technique. They stand at the stern of the flat-bottomed boat and wrap one leg around the oar to direct the boat, while the other leg is to control the hull of the boat. In this way, not only can they see across the water to avoid twining weeds and gardening beds, but also easier to spot the telltable bubbles of fish.
Day 8Inle Lake | Bustling Market Day
Get a touch of the vibrant lifestyle of Inle Lake, today your tour guide will take you to a local market in a village of the lake. Known as the 5-Day Market, trade fair will be held in some major villages around lakeshore following a 5-day rotation.
We will have some simple lunch at a floating restaurant overlooking the busy lake traffic.
And then, paddle into the narrow riverbanks where you will reach the Indien Pagoda Complex. The biggest highlight of the peaceful village Indien of Tuangyi. There are countless ancient pagodas springing out of the water. It is so easy to get soaked up in the timeless atmosphere as your boat weaves through the creeks.
Day 9Inle Lake - Yangon, Yangon Departure
Say goodbye to the peaceful lake and you will be taken to Heho Airport. Fly back to Yangon and connect with your international flight.
Thanks for making your first-time trip to Myanmar with Asia Highlights. Hope to see you again soon!
Asia Highlights handpicked hotels
As a destination that is newly open, there is not exactly strict hotel ranking in Myanmar. Among all possibilities, Asia Highlights has handpicked some hotels of amazing value and experiences for you. They are not luxurious yet just decent enough for your days in Myanmar.
- Ranked 13/147 of hotels in Yangon.
- Located by the Inya Lake, offering good view of the lake and the city.
- Deluxe Room, 32sqm, view of Shwedagon Pagoda.
- Ranked 11/110 on TripAdvisor.
- Located by the hill foot and overlooking the city.
- Superior Room, 32sqm, spacious with view of Mandalay Palace.
- Winner of Certificate of Excellence on TripAdvisor.
- By the Ayeyarwaddy River, wide-open surroundings and setting.
- Deluxe Room , 35sqm with balcony and garden view.
- Winner of Certificate of Excellence on TripAdvisor.
- Wood-constructed villas in a quiet village, garden surrounding.
- Royal Villa with Private Pond, is 80sqm with bedroom and living room.
- Seasonal information:The best time to visit Myanmar is RIGHT NOW! Whatever season you come, Myanmar presents its best with a delicately-designed journey.
Some people prefer the cool and cozy air during the cool season, which is from late September to next year's February. This is considered the peak season of Myanmar; travel costs is relatively higher than the off season, yet the greatest part is you get great weather and good chance for hot air balloon flight in Bagan.
Visiting Myanmar during summer time, March to September, is also a brilliant choice as for the cost and also, you wouldn't be troubled with big travel groups. We will pace out your journey with short breaks during the rounds of sightseeing.
- Myanmar visa: People of all nationalities, except those from the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), are required to obtain visa for Myanmar. You may apply for E-Visa online by yourself or we can issue you an approval letter for visa proceedure at the airport.
Approval Letter will be used for eVisa application for air entry. Take your passport and 1 passport-size photo to get your passport stamped at one of the airports of Yangon, Mandalay or Nap Pyi Taw, with no extra cost at the airport.
For more information, please take some time reading over Myanmar Visas and How to Apply for.
- Meals:Daily breakfast at hotels and a lunch for days with sightseeing are included, so are some dinners as mentioned in the itinerary. For meals that are not included, your tour guides will suggest where and what to eat.
Food in these three countries is mainly rice-based and you will eat a lot of vegetables, fish, chicken and beef. If you would like to make special arrangements, such as Halal or Kosher food, or none-dairy, please inform your travel advisor at the time of inquiry. We will do our best to accommodate you.
Just a heads-up: Halal options can be very limited in Bagan and Inle Lake, and we will use common restaurants and make special orders upon your permission.
- Transportation: You will have a private car in each destination; our cars are within 5 years of usage and your private drivers will be polite and drive with strong regard for safety.
Internal flights are operated by Myanmar's national airlines. Most airlines operate flights in the early morning. Although it might be a bit tiring at the beginning, good things are that the flights are fairly short, within one hour, and you get much time for activities or leisure in the next destination.
As for overland connection, please be noted that road conditions are not very delightful in Myanmar and we wouldn't put you through discomfort from city to city as the 100km distance might take up to 5 hours.
- Arrangements Sightseeing, activities and accommodations that are mentioned in this tour you are looking at are just for your inspiration.
If you want to have a free afternoon upon arrival in Inle Lake, we will remove the afternoon boat trip; if you would like to have a candle-lit dinner among Bagan's temples, special arranges will be made; it is always up to you to make the trip just the right way you want.
If you are looking for experiences that are not done by others, Discovery your way, Asia Highlights' motto suites you the best.
- Responsible travel: Travel avails you with special experiences. Somehow its impact on the local community can be more beyond imagination and what Asia Highlights wishes to do is lead the impact onto a good path, a path that helps the local people (not only your tour guides) boarden their outlook and the local communities develop.
Some lunches are served at local restaurants that are also training centers for former street kids. Taking baby steps one at a time, we highly appreciate you would like to be part of it (of course, we can make other arrangements if needed).
With that being said, detours to so-called factories or specialty workshops are strictly prohibited. We make sure your tour guides earn enough to support their families without squeezing commissions out of you.
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