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Essential Myanmar

9/Days  Flexible & Private Tour
 MandalayBaganKalawInle LakeYangon
Only From
$1822 $1640
Designed by © Inside Travel Experts
Essential Myanmar Essential Myanmar Essential Myanmar See all 126 photos

Experience the diverse culture, natural beauty, historical reserves and warm hospitality of Burma during this 9-day package as you explore the genuine treasures the country has to offer such as poetic sunset over U Bein bridge, gigantic unfinished pagoda in Mingun,powerful ancient kingdom of Bagan, astounding hill sceneries in Kalaw and the most sacred Shwedagon pagoda in Yangon. Every day on this tour will be a new interesting adventure with valuable experiences that you can cherish for a lifetime.


  Admire the magnificent remains of Mingun pagoda

  Enjoy private peaceful sunset view from top of Yankin hill and U Bein bridge

  Discover series of Bagan's ancient crumbling temples and pagodas

  Trek through hill plantations and soak up in Kalaw's laid back atmosphere

  Experience simple but unique floating life on Inle Lake

  Explore the in the world famous legendary Shwedagon pagoda

  Savor mystical atmosphere of the world famous Shwedagon pagoda after dark

Tour Summary

By Day Transfer Destinations Activities Meals
Day 1 Mandalay Mandalay arrival, visit selected highlights of Sagaing and Amarapura,...
Day 2 Mingun Morning boat trip to visit Mingun unfinished pagoda, explore further... B
Day 3 Bagan Overland travel from Mandalay to Bagan, en-route visit ancient... B
Day 4 Bagan Visit series of significant temples and pagodas in Bagan, learn ... B
Day 5 Kalaw Morning fly to Heho airport, transfer to Kalaw, afternoon visit Kalaw... B
Day 6 Inle Lake Train to Shwenyaung train station and connect Nyaung Shwe jetty, boat... B
Day 7 Indein Boat trip to Indein village, en-route participate in 5-day floating... B
Day 8 Yangon Morning fly to Yangon, car tour to visit highlights of the city,... B
Day 9 Yangon Check out hotel, transfer to airport, depart B
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    Mandalay arrival, visit selected highlights of Sagaing and Amarapura, sunset at U Bein bridge

Mingalabar! Welcome to Mandalay, the last royal capital of Myanmar. Nowadays, it is not only famous as a developing economic hub but also the cultural heart of the country with nice preservation of important monasteries, historical sites, traditional literature, music and dances. Upon arrival, you are to receive a warm welcome from our guide and driver before starting the exploration around city then. Along the way, enjoy the various scenes of passing-by tropical plantaions and rural villages.      

In the afternoon, we kick off with a drive up to Sagaing Hill, a green hill studded with white and gold pagodas. Here we will visit U Min Thonze Cave Temple with its impressive 45 Buddha statues and Soon U Ponya Shin Pagoda and Sagaing's central pagoda located at the top of the hill from which offers vantage point for panoramic view of Mandalay vast countryside landscape. When the sun is about to set, we move to Amarapura (“City of Immortality”) and visit the remarkable U Bein bridge. This is also known as the world longest and oldest wooden bridge making of 200-year-old teak poles making an elegant footway crossing the shallow Taungthaman Lake. Enjoy the impressive sunset moment over the iconic bridge before heading back to your hotel for a good night stay then.

Lunch and dinner are on your own account.

In search of Mandalay's serenity

Welcome to Mandalay – the city of culture located in the right heart of Myanmar.  Unlike other lively tours in modern cities, your excursion in Mandalay will take you to the outlying areas with fantastic mixture of nature and culture: Riverside hills dotted by gold stupas and pagodas named Sagaing, incredible view over Manday across Ayeyarwaddy River from the hill top, brilliant U Min Thonze Cave Temple and Soon U Ponya Shin Pagoda, amazing golden Buddha statue at Mahamuni Buddha Temple. Moreover, a stop at Mahagandayon Monastery is truly worth your time in Mandalay, impressing you by the calm atmosphere when humble monks in red robes lining up silently for lunch ceremony.  After all, a stunning sunset over the iconic U Bein Bridge will definitly blow you away after a long day tour. 

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    Morning boat trip to visit Mingun unfinished pagoda, explore further key sites of Mandalay, sunset at Yankin hill

This morning you will be driven to GawWein jetty in Mandalay, and then embarked on a private boat upstream Irrawaddy river to Mingun, an ancient riverside town in Sagaing region. Our first stop in Mingun is the world’s largest unfinished Pahtodawgyi Pagoda which was supposed to become the world’s largest pagoda if King Bodawpaya hadn’t died before it was completed. Even though it was never done, the first constrution is enough massive piece of art.  Let’s get closer and admire the richly decorated entrance and detailed the history of the temple's construction in inscription stone. Leave the pagoda, we will head to Mingun Bell which has a weight of 90 tons, which is believed to be the largest uncracked bell in the world. From here, should you wish, a few minutes walking to the north, we will visit Hsinbyume Pagoda, a beautifully white-washed compound which holds a sorrow story behind about graceful Princess Hsinbyume, who had died during childbirth at very young age. Leave the town, back to your boat for a windy sail back to Mandalay. Get back to your car for a drive to explore Kuthodaw pagoda, frequently known as “The World’s Biggest Book”with great collection of well-preserved 729 marble slabs inscribed with Buddhist teachings. We then stop at Shwenandaw Monastery to witness impressive wood carving architecture as well as daily life routines of local monks. End of afternoon, we move to drive up Yankin Hill, an isolated temple-topped hill with excellent panoramic views from summit. If you prefer climbing to savor the surrounding sceneries slowly, it would take roughly 30 minutes along step stairway to conquer the top. Enjoy the rewarding sunset falling down the vast countryside before return to Mandalay for dinner and night relaxation then.

Lunch and dinner are on your own account.   

Tranquil sunset from Yankin hilltop

Standing for “Free from Danger”, Yankin Hill is ideally peaceful destination for sunset view from the East of Mandalay. After 30 minutes driving from the city center, you could choose to continue driving up the hilltop or spending a further 30 minutes to climb up the top through steep stairway. From the hilltop, enjoy the panoramic view of Mandalay's rural landscapes and Shan foothills behind.


Explore the uncompleted Mingun pagoda

Sailing upwards the mighty Irrawaddy river from Mandalay, Mingun unfinished pagoda will soon catch your eyes in with its massive compound setting near the riverbank. Get off the boat, we will take you to discover all secrets behind the largest pagoda in the country and probably in the world if finished, the overriding ambition of King Bodawpaya, the reason why it was eventually left abandoned, the great architecture from finest brick works and the largest working giant bell inside. If you wish, it is also possible to climb to the top of pagoda and have splendid views of surrounding landscape. 

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    Overland travel from Mandalay to Bagan, en-route visit ancient capital of Ava, enjoy sunset by Irrawaddy river

After an early breakfast, start your day out with a gentle walk along the majestic Irrawaddy River to explore more about local life of riverine villagers. Then paticipate in a local fresh market full of talkative and funny locals. It would be an off-the-beaten-track feeling to blend in a place where very few tourists might know about. Get back to your hotel after that and prepare for a 5-hour long roadtrip to Bagan by car. En-route, don’t miss the chance to drop by sleepy ancient capital of Ava and experience a fascinating trip back in time by horse-cart through rustic farmland, city walls, monasteries and temples. Arrive Bagan in late afternoon, we will stop by Irrawaddy river bank and capture stunning red sunset over river before reaching your hotel for a good night then.

Lunch and dinner are on your own account.  

Wonderful sightseeing by horse-cart in the ancient Ava

Far away from the hustle of Mandalay, there lies a forgetten ancient capital of Ava where you could enjoy a bumpy but delightful ride on a horse cart (a popular local transport) and discover quaint rural landscape dotted with ruined temples, brick monasteries or the well-preserved remains of the outer city walls or pleasant view of farmers working on their private land. This is a great opportunity to gather some unique impressions off the beaten track. 

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    Visit series of significant temples and pagodas in Bagan, learn lacquer-ware making technique in Myinkaba village, sunset in upper terrace of Thatbyinnyu Temple

In the morning we climb on the upper terrace of magnificent Shwesandaw pagoda and observe the special beauty of surrounding temples and pagodas under warm morning sunlight. Take advantage of time and move to visit Ananda temple next then before the arrival of large influxes of tourists so we could fully explore Mon architecture well preserved from 12th century and figure out why it is regarded as the most beautiful temple in Bagan. We also visit the greatest Shwezigon Pagoda, a noticeable huge gold plated pagoda built by the founder of the Bagan empire enshrining Gautama Buddha's relics. Following the winding path passing palm trees, small reined temples and monasteries, we reach Myinkaba village, a typical bamboo village famous for many traditional lacquer-ware workshops. Get inside one of them, watch the intricate making process step by step and admire the final impressive products of art after the demonstration. Another must see of the village should be Gubyaukgyi temple with striking beauty of mural paintings and sculptures influenced by Indian architecture dating back from 12th century. Conclude your temple tour with a final stop at majestic towering phaya Thatbyinnyu Temple, also the tallest temple in Bagan for the best panoramic view of particular picturesque landscape, innumerable monuments, the slow-moving Ayeyarwaddy river, and even distant hills over the sunset.

Warm notice: From October to March, you can request a hot-air balloon ride which takes you above the charming Bagan plain and the impressive Ayeyarwaddy River to watch sunrise. Remember to get up early.

Lunch and dinner are on your own account.    

Historical and cultural treasures to discover in the magnific Bagan

Being known as one of the successful empire over Myanmar history, Bagan is like a miniature representing ancient prosperity and power of Burma with over 2,000 well-preserved stupas, pagodas and temple. Entering the land and visiting main attractions, exquisite and graceful architecture offerred by aging monuments along with interesting stories behind will amaze any passionate travellers. Afternoon trip to Bagan lacquerware house is another worthwhile stop to see how finest lacquerware products are made all by hands and get to know why Bagan is the famous centre of thriving lacquerware industry in Burma.       

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    Morning fly to Heho airport, transfer to Kalaw, afternoon visit Kalaw hill life on foot

Say goodbye to the ancient Bagan, we head off to Nyaung U airport for a short flight to Heho airport. Upon your arrival, meet up our team and together we drive along the winding but road to Kalaw. After roughly 2 hours, at last you will reach Kalaw, a laid-back hill town with refreshing asmostphere and attractive natural sceneries of colorful plantations on the floor on green hills. After check-in your hotel and lunch break, warm up your afternoon with an exhilarating trek up and down the hilly routes through beautiful plantation growing a large variety of vegetables, fruits, flowers, teas, etc. It is also a good chance for you to get more immersive experience with hill friendly villagers from Danu, Pa-O, Taung Yo and Palaung ethnic groups. Reaching the hilltop, stop by a guest house for a cup of local tea, you are warmly invited to have a house tour and get to know more about daily activities and practices here. Later on, we trod down hill through another steepy path to initial starting point and connect a car ride back to hotel then. Enjoy your relaxed time then.

Lunch and dinner are on your own hotel.  

Jump in an epic trek in Kalaw

Take part in an epic trek in Kalaw or there is no better ways to not only discover the amazing landscape but also get an insight into the real cultural life with our experienced trekking local guide, who is always open to any of your question on Burmese life.Situated on the eastern edge of Shan Plateau, Kalaw is a picturesque hilltown dotted with tribal villages - an ideal destination for adventurous spirits to grab a hold of beautiful nature settings as well as breathe the ethnic lives. Starting your trek from the centre of town after breakfast, you will gradually sneak your way up towards the elevated plains above Kalaw and target to indigenous Shan village of Pein Hne Pin. Every part in the trekking route is an amazing discovery of changing landscape that will blow you away when going through: mountain, valley, plantations, etc. 

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    Train to Shwenyaung train station and connect Nyaung Shwe jetty, boat trip around Inle Lake, visit floating gardens, villages and key religious sites, watch sunset on the lake

After a hearty breakfast, you will be brought to Kalaw train station for a 3-hour train ride to Shwenyaung train station, the nearest railhead to connect the iconic Inle Lake – our very next destination. Upon reaching the lake bank in Nyaung Shwe jetty, we step in a private board and start out a fantastic trip around the lake. Upon the tranquil lake, it offers beautiful reflection of floating bamboo houses of Intha people who grow food on floating gardens in addition to fishing. Along the way, observe lake farmers collecting crops on boats or the iconic image of leg-rowing fishermen in their long thin wooden craft catching fish for livelihoods. Sailling further the lake, you will also visit Ngaphechaung Monastery – the oldest and biggest monastery over Inle Lake. It is an attractive wooden monastery famous for unique architecture, impressive collection of Buddha images. From here, we proceed to PhaungDawOo Pagoda, the most important and visited destination of all Buddha believers around the lake where you could also find five 800-year-old golden images well preserved in the center. Our guide will tell you the mysterious story about these precious images.  On the way back to your lake hotel, we stop by Inpawkhon village to explore traditional lotus weaving technique and beautiful textiles in a family-run workshop. If time permits, we will also visit blacksmith and silver smith making workshops before settling in your lake hotel for nice relaxation then.

Lunch and dinner are on your own account

Fantastic rail journey from Kalaw to Inle Lake

Catching a slow train from Kalaw to Inle Lake, it is the chance to to gether local feeling with a seat on outdated carriage dated back from colonial time. The train has long played such a vital role on daily life of Shan Hill locals as importantly affordable link connecting lands. Sitting near the opened windows, relax your mind and enjoy your hassle-free time observing the laid-back charm of naturally preserved Shan mountains, beautiful countryside and vibrant local life going by..


Immerse in the wonderful floating life in Inle Lake

Upward the western of Shan state is the pictureque Inle Lake –  the Venice of Myanmar. Stepping off Nyaung Shwe marina, you will take a motorized boat to navigate through stilt villages, floating garderns and meet locals who spend their entire lives on the water. Passing Ywa Ma village and Kay Lar Village where Intha people built their unique houses with long straight wooden poles stretching into the lake bed, it is your tranquil time in relaxed atmostphere of thelocally significant Phaung Daw Oo Pagoda and get to unfold the interesting story of the five Buddhas inside. As the dawn is coming and the warm light turns the still surface of the lake a golden colour, just pause for a while and cherish true value of unforgetable moment.

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    Boat trip to Indein village, en-route participate in 5-day floating market, explore Shwe Indein stupa pagoda, Walk around Sae Ma village, visit Inthar Heritage House

In the second day on Inle Lake, we board on boat again and sail toward Indein. En-route, take a chance to participate in a local 5-day market which is rotating between 5 different lakeside villages over 5-day period. The market is a unique culture point for residents all around the lake and nearby mountains to exchange not only a wide variety of colorful typical products but also their indigenous cultures. After having fun time in the vibrant market, we reach with 1- Indein village after another hour boating. Take an easy stroll through a bamboo forest before connecting the walkway up to the hilltop pagoda. After 30 minutes walking, the amazing summit comes to your sight with mesmerizing view of 1054 ruined stupas embracing the Shwe Indein pagoda in the middle. Getting closer to ancient crumbling stupas, some fallen halfly while some overgrown by little trees and moss, you are offered a golden chance to admire priceless legacy of historical architecture and rich culture dating back from 17th cemtury. From the top of the hill, enjoy great views of Indein village and the surrounding landscape before continuing on foot to observe slow pace of life at Sae Ma village. Along the ride back to your lake hotel, do not miss a chance to stop at Inthar Heritage House, a restaurant and an unusual Cat Sanctuary  holding many significant history and culture values of Inle Lake’s native locals. Wrap up the fruitful day trip with fantastic sunset over the beautiful lake. Have a sweet night then at your hotel.

Lunch and dinner are on own account

Indulge in a trip to the graceful Indein

Indein is a small village West of Inle Lake which is renowned for the floating market and impressive ancient stupas with Banyan trees growing out of them. From Inle Lake, by just a scenic 8-kilometer boat ride through a long narrow canal, you soon reach the lively floating ‘5-day market’ rotated every five days around five different villages in Inle. This is a beautiful opportunity to experience the diversity of Inle ethnic, witness their day-to-day life and make their unique fair on the water trading all local products. A drop-in visit to local workshops will excite your curiosity about lotus weaving, cheroot cigarettes making in various size and flavours and diligent hand crafted silver work. Lastly, don’t forget to discover old ruined pagodas dated back to the 13th century and admire their incredible beauty even in bad condition. The impressive image of stupas after stupas decaying due to constant exposure to humidity still pose irresistible charm will leave you with nothing but thrills. 

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    Morning fly to Yangon, car tour to visit highlights of the city, enjoy beautiful sunset at Shwedagon Pagoda

Leaving Inle Lake, you are transfered to Heho airport for an early morning flight to Yangon – the biggest commercial and financial city of Myanmar. As a journey from past to present, we specially arrange Yangon as final stop with hope to let you see the new look of the country. Though it is full of energy and a spectrum of exciting things to do, Yangon also holds an impressive collection of magnificent works with richly historical values. Showing in the city center after an hour driving from Yangon airport, we firstly pay a visit to to Mahabandola park, standing in front of the national Independence monument, take your time for a panoramic view of all remarkable historic surroundings including City HallImmanual church. Next up, we stroll down nearby French-architecture colonial buildings which are still preserved in its original condition since last century. Don’t forget to snap nostalgic pictures along the walk. After lunch break, head to Chauk Htat Gyi Pagoda in downtown Yangon to discover the 70 meters long and 16 meters high Reclining Buddha image. Coming up, spend your time to chill out at the picturesque Kandawgyi Lake Park where you could take a leisurely stroll along the wooden footbridge across the serene lake and capture spectacle views of the giant floating Karaweik Palace. This is also the only place in Yangon to enjoy cultural show of traditional dance and music. To call it a day, find the way to World famous Great Golden Shwedagon Pagoda and see it magically lit at night. 

Lunch and dinner are on own account.

Uncover the diverse history and culture of Yangon

Welcome to Yangon - the biggest and most bustling city in Myanmar, a unique city in Southeast Asia with all nostalgic colors of time and culture reserved over centuries. If you are interested in colonial era architecture, a stroll down Yangon's colonial buildings will definitely blow you away by well-reserved images from the 20th century, with decaying facades filled with old paint and small trees squeezing through those little cracks. Moreover, proud of rich cultural tradition, Yangon will amaze you with plenty of spiritual relics where you can experience the importance of Buddhism to the Burmese’s lives: tranquil Chaukhtatgyi Temple containing an over-200-feet-long reclining Buddha, the octagonal-shaped 2500 year old pagoda Sule Pagoda located in the heart of the city, and especially the legendary Shwedagon Pagoda - the massive 99 meter high gold plated pagoda with the diamond studded spire on top of a small hill in downtown Yangon. And don’t miss chance to meditate in pagoda’s mystical atmosphere beautifully lit up after dark.(Note: Selected schedules will be appropriately handpicked according to specific package)

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    Check out hotel, transfer to airport, depart

Free until check out your hotel, transfer to airport with drop-off guide and find the way to connect your departure flight home later on. End of services.

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8 Breakfasts
Hotel (8 nights),
Car, Boating
1. Fly from Bagan to Heho airport (30 minutes)
2. Morning fly from Heho to Yangon (1 hour 10 minutes)
Included Services
  •   08-night hotel accommodation with daily breakfast
  •   Private transports in air-conditioned vehicles
  •   02 domestic flights: Bagan - Heho, Heho - Yangon
  •   Domestic airport & government taxes
  •   Road taxes
  •   Local English-speaking guides
  •   Water & tissues on coach
  •   Entrance fees, private boat in Mingun and Inle Lake
  •   Horse-cart in Ava
  •   Our personal assistance


  •   International flights
  •   Travel insurance
  •   Visa stamp fees
  •   Early check-in & late check-out surcharge
  •   Personal expenses
  •   Meals, drinks not mentioned
  •   Tips & gratuities for guide and driver
  •   Surcharge for Christmas or New year’s eve gala dinner at hotel (if required)

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