THE BEST OF MYANMAR

The full Myanmar experience on one classic holiday. From Yangon to Bagan, Mandalay to Inle Lake, tour the best of his poetic country

TOUR INTRODUCTION

8 Days, 7 Nights     FROM US$ 1076 PER PERSON

A magical journey in Myanmar awaits. Whether you’re wandering through a forest of ancient stupas in Bagan or a maze of stalls at Bogyoke Market, this classic Myanmar holiday allows for total immersion in local color as you tour the best sights and highlights of this warm-hearted country. Led by our expert local guides, you’ll stay on Inle Lake, marvel at Shwedagon Pagoda, explore the wonders of Mandalay, walk across U Bein Bridge, mingle with hill tribes in Shan State and much, much more.

Start in historic Yangon where you’ll be surrounded by atmospheric colonial buildings—the legacy of Myanmar’s era of British rule. Join friendly locals at a tea shop to sip tea or coffee and sample delicious snacks. At Shwedagon Pagoda, you’ll gain an understanding of the deep reverence the Burmese people.

When you fly to the ancient capital of Bagan, you’ll see stunning, centuries-old relics of this spiritual reverence. A visit to a cave temple will reveal exquisite murals, while a walk through Bagan’s lesser-known forests of stupas will fill you with serenity and wonder. Watch the golden sunset from the upper terrace of a temple and cruise down the mighty Irrawaddy River to witness everyday river life.

From Sagaing to Amarapura, you’ll tour a chain of ancient capitals and walk alongside local commuters on the world’s longest teak bridge. Then, an exploration of Inle Lake will introduce you to Myanmar’s intriguing ethnic minority groups, as well as their watery lifestyles. Upon your return to Yangon, you can explore the city’s outskirts on the slow-moving circular train. A stroll around Bogyoke Market will provide the perfect opportunity for last-minute souvenir shopping before you are transferred to the airport for your departure flight.

 

“Myanmar is so full of historical sites and unique attractions that it can be hard to decide where to go. But this classic Myanmar holiday makes it easy for you. It packages simply the best bits of each region.”

Wai Lin, Backyard Travel Myanmar Specialist

THE BACKYARD TRAVEL DIFFERENCE

Cruise down the Irrawaddy River to see stilted villages, fishermen and the beautiful backdrop of Bagan beyond
Ride the circular train around Yangon for a unique taste of local color
Stay on Inle Lake and visit a lakeside Pa-oh weaving village to see artisans at work
Watch the sunset over the stupa-studded plains of Bagan from a temple terrace



Daily Itinerary

Daily Itinerary

  • Start
  • Day 1: Yangon

    Welcome to your classic Myanmar holiday! Upon arrival in Yangon, you’ll be welcomed by your English-speaking guide and be escorted to your hotel.

    Formerly known as Rangoon in the British era, Yangon is a colorful, bustling city replete with colonial-style buildings and a devout spiritual heritage. On a half-day tour, you’ll see what makes this one of the most compelling cities in Asia.

    Start with a visit to Kyauktawgyi Pagoda, where you’ll get an insightful glimpse into Buddhist life as locals pay respects to an impressive 70-meter-long reclining Buddha. The pagoda houses some fascinating murals depicting the life of Buddha, which your expert guide will be happy to explain.

    Next, make a pit stop to recharge at a local tea shop. Popular at all hours of the day, this bustling shop is adorned with impressive traditional wood carvings. Enjoy a freshly roasted coffee or brewed tea as you soak in the unique ambience of a Yangon tea shop.

    Continue to the green expanse of Kandawgyi Garden, a popular hangout for locals to relax, mingle and breathe some fresh air. The park houses the Karaweik barge, a replica of the royal barge, floating on a picturesque lake. From here, you can take in lovely views of Shwedagon Pagoda.

    End your day with an early evening walk through Shwedagon Pagoda, Myanmar’s most revered sacred site. Here, your guide will explain the history of the temple. Get an up-close-and-personal view of the complex’s remarkable 65 stupas, including the central stupa gilded with gold-leaf and standing 90 meters tall.

    Overnight in Yangon

    No meals included on this day

    View of Sule Pagoda Road in Downtown Yangon, MyanmarKaraweik barge at Kandawgyi Lake, Yangon, Myanmarschwedagon-pagoda-myanmar
  • Day 2: Yangon - Bagan

    After breakfast, your classic Myanmar holiday will take you to Bagan, the ancient capital of Myanmar. After a brief, 20-minute flight, your guide will meet you at Nyaung Oo Airport and you’ll embark on a full-day guided tour.

    The first stop is an elevated temple from which you’ll enjoy spectacular views over this magnificent city. Built during the 11th to 13th centuries, Bagan was a deeply spiritual seat of government where the rulers erected thousands of stupas and temples, many of which still stand along the shore of the Irrawaddy River.

    You’ll continue next to the golden spire of Shwezigon Pagoda, where you’ll receive a rich introduction to Bagan’s history. At the cave temple of Gubyaukgyi, you’ll discover exquisite jataka murals. At Htilominlo Temple, you’ll have the chance to view the renowned plaster carvings and glazed sandstone flourishes.

    After stopping for lunch (at own expense), you’ll have the opportunity to visit a traditional lacquer-ware shop. Here, take the chance to observe how local artisans create Myanmar’s famous lacquer crafts. Then it’s on to one of Bagan’s most beautiful temples, Ananda Temple. Constructed in the Mon style, the temple houses two Buddha statues whose expressions seem to change with the angles from which they are viewed.

    Next, you’ll be treated to a horse cart ride that passes three impressive temples: Thatbyinnyu, the highest temple in Bagan; then Dhammayangyi Temple, a massive complex that is known for its splendid brickwork; and finally the imposing Sulamani Temple.

    Drink in sunset over the stupas of Bagan from an upper terrace of one of the temples.

    Overnight in Bagan

    Meals included on this day: Breakfast

    handy-craft-bagan-myanmarmonk-with-red-parasol-in-temple-myanmarsunset-Bagan
  • Day 3: Bagan

    Today, you can choose to enjoy our usual itinerary or take part in an optional morning activity:

    OPTIONAL ACTIVITY: Balloons Over Bagan
    Start your day with an unforgettable flight over Bagan’s temple-studded plains via hot-air balloon. While your balloon is inflated, enjoy a breakfast of pastries and croissants, coffee and tea. Then, climb aboard and float above thousands of earthen temples, gilded stupas and local villages, with the impressive Irrawaddy River as the backdrop. (Please note: Balloon flights are available only from late October to late March, weather permitting.)

    After breakfast this morning, your classic Myanmar holiday will take you on a guided tour of colorful Nyaung Oo Market where villagers from local hill tribes gather every day to buy and sell their produce and other handmade goods.

    After browsing the numerous stalls, continue to Myinkaba, a small, local village that is home to fascinating temples. A walking tour will give you the chance to explore the small but stunning temples of Manuha and Nan Paya. At this point, you can choose to further explore Bagan or return to your hotel to avoid the midday heat.

    This afternoon, you’ll visit one of Bagan’s lesser-known areas, Minnanthu, which lies to the east of Bagan. This farming community specializes in sesame and peanut oil production. Spend time exploring the peaceful area, taking in the temples of Nandamannya, Lemyentha and Payathonzu before heading to the jetty.

    Here, you’ll board a boat for a private cruise along the Irrawaddy River. Relax and watch scenes of life on the river as you float past villages, wooden huts and fishermen bringing in their catch of the day.

    Return to your hotel and spend the rest of the evening at your leisure. Be sure to ask your local Backyard Travel guide for their recommendations on nearby restaurants and things to see and do.

    Overnight in Bagan

    Meals included on this day: Breakfast

    Young Buddhist monks in traditional robes Myanmarbagan-temple-balloon-myanmar
  • Day 4: Bagan - Mandalay

    After breakfast you’ll be picked up from your hotel and transferred to the airport for your onward flight to Mandalay, where your local guide will meet you.

    Your exploration of Mandalay begins with a private sightseeing tour, stopping first at the legendary Mahamuni Pagoda, home to one of Myanmar’s most revered Buddha images. It has been covered with so many layers of gold leaf by devotees through the ages that the statue now has a “lumpy” texture.

    Next, visit several of Mandalay’s artisan workshops. Mandalay has a long and proud heritage of regional arts and crafts. By observing expert artisans create kalaga tapestries, gold leaf and intricate wood carvings, you’ll gain insight into regional craft techniques that have remained unchanged for centuries. If you choose, you can also participate in a puppet-making activity at a local workshop.

    OPTIONAL ACTIVITY: Marionette Making
    Take this unique opportunity to create your very own marionette at a local puppet workshop. Choose your marionette’s face, body and clothes to design a unique souvenir. This activity takes about 1 hour and is great for all ages.

    This afternoon, pay a visit to Kuthodaw Pagoda, nicknamed the “World’s Biggest Book” for the 729 stone slabs engraved with Buddhist scriptures housed here. Next, head to Shwenandaw Monastery. The only remaining part of the Royal Palace that was built in the 19th century, this monastery is famous for its exquisite wooden carvings.

    To wrap up your day of sightseeing, walk up the 900 stairs to the top of Mandalay Hill as the sun begins to set. This roughly 45-minute walk is popular among locals who make pilgrimages to the peak. When you reach the summit, savor an unforgettable, panoramic sunset over the city.

    Overnight in Mandalay

    Meals included on this day: Breakfast

    Mandalay (10)dreamstimelarge_6255416kuthodaw-paya-myanmar
  • Day 5: Mandalay – Amarapura – Ava – Sagaing

    OPTIONAL ACTIVITY: Mahamuni Face Washing
    This is a unique opportunity to gain fascinating insight into Buddhism. Every morning before dawn, the monks of Mahamuni Pagoda wash the face of the “lumpy” Buddha with fragrant water and brush the statue’s teeth. If you’d like to witness this roughly hour-long ritual, wake up around 04:00 and take a local taxi (without a guide) to Mahamuni Pagoda. Return to your hotel by 07:30 for breakfast.

    OPTIONAL ACTIVITY: Balloons Over Mandalay
    This early morning activity is available from late October to late March, weather permitting. Climb aboard a hot-air balloon and float into the Mandalay sky. Against the stunning backdrop of Mandalay Hill, you’ll spy the 729 white pitaka pagodas that house Buddhist scriptures, known as the “World’s Largest Book.” As you drift above this historical city you’ll see barefoot monks collecting alms, lively morning markets, boats on the Irrawaddy River and U Bein Bridge in Amarapura.

    After breakfast, a daytrip to explore the former capitals of Sagaing, Ava and Amarapura will acquaint you with the rich history and spiritual traditions of Mandalay.

    Cross the Irrawaddy River to Sagaing, where you’ll see majestic Sagaing Hill, which is widely regarded as the religious center of Myanmar. Visit famous pagodas such as Swan Oo Pon Nya Shin and U Min Thone Sae. Sagaing is home to over 3,000 monks and 600 pagodas—you’ll no doubt meet some of these monks on your rambles.

    You’ll also have the chance to investigate a typical Burmese market that sells local goods, including handicrafts that make perfect souvenirs. Stop at a pottery village to see the process of making water pots—a ubiquitous item in Myanmar.

    Continue by private vehicle to Ava, the capital of the Burmese Kingdom from 1364 to 1841. Enjoy a leisurely, guided tour of the quaint streets by local horse cart, allowing you to soak in everyday life in the countryside as you visit the old wooden Bagaya Monastery and the majestic remains of the Royal Palace and Fort. Stop for a delicious local lunch in Ava.

    Next, return to your private car and head to Amarapura, which translates to “City of Immortality.” Another former capital of Myanmar, Amarapura is famous for its silk weaving, cotton textiles, and bronze crafts. Your first stop will be a silk weaving workshop where you can watch artisans in action. Afterward, round off this classic day of sightseeing with a stroll along the world’s longest teak bridge, U Bein Bridge. This iconic cultural site was constructed 200 years ago using 984 teak posts that were once part of Inwa Palace. Spanning 1.2 kilometers, this bridge offers plenty of chances to observe daily life over Taungthaman Lake, as well as catching the sunset over the lake—a classic Myanmar moment.

    Your guide will then return you to Mandalay, where you’re free to spend the evening at your leisure.

    Overnight in Mandalay

    Meals included on this day: Breakfast and lunch

    Locals and monk at Mandalay Mahamuni Pagoda, MyanmarMandalay_Ubien-Bride-Myanmar
  • Day 6: Mandalay - Heho - Inle Lake

    After breakfast, your classic Myanmar holiday will take you on a 45-minute flight to Heho Airport in Shan State. You’ll be met by your guide, and from here it’s a scenic 1-hour drive to the village of Nyaung Shwe, the gateway to Myanmar’s magnificent Inle Lake. En route, we’ll stop at Shwe Yan Pyay Monastery, home to some beautiful carvings and Buddha images.

    Once at Nyaung Shwe, we’ll wander through town to see local life and stop at the lively market it is being held that day. At the edges of Inle Lake, board your private motorboat for an excursion on the water. Enjoy a comfortable ride with cushioned seats, lifejackets and umbrellas to protect from the sun or rain, as well as blankets in the winter. Relax as you explore Inle Lake, one of Myanmar’s most spectacular sites, passing stilted villages, floating gardens and the famous leg-rowing fishermen as you head to Phaung Daw Oo Pagoda, the most sacred sanctuary on the lake. Here you’ll see five revered Buddha statues ranging from 9 to 18 inches tall. They are made of gold and so covered in gold leaf offerings that the original shapes are obscured.

    Finally, continue by boat to Inpawkhone where you can observe the Intha people engaged in the art of traditional silk weaving. You’ll also have the chance visit a traditional cheroot factory, where Burmese cigars are still made by hand.

    If there’s time, go for a short walk through one of the quaint lakeside villages before returning to your hotel.

    Overnight on Inle Lake

    Meals included on this day: Breakfast

    dreamstimelarge_22417699Shan State countryside, Myanmar1000Burmese woman crossing a bridge, Shan State, Myanmar
  • Day 7: Indein – Inle Lake – Heho – Yangon

    Today, your classic Myanmar holiday takes you to a morning market that rotates its location around Inle Lake on a 5-day basis. Head there after breakfast—the earlier the better—and watch the local communities and hill tribes gather to trade their handmade wares and locally farmed produce. The markets are bustling hives of activity with Pa-Oh, Intha and Shan vendors. (Please note: The markets are closed on dark moon and full moon days of the lunar calendar.)

    Next, travel by boat down a small canal that leads to a village in Indein that is home to the Pa-oh people. Explore this fascinating village on foot and continue up the hill to the stunning forest of ancient stupas at Alaung Sithhou. From the hilltop, you’ll get some splendid panoramic views over the lake.

    After your tour, head to the airport in Heho for your onward flight to Yangon. Your next local guide will meet you at the airport and escort you to your hotel to check-in.

    Overnight in Yangon

    Meals included on this day: Breakfast

    local-fresh-market-myanmar1000x600Pa-O Tribe in Sagar, MyanmarOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
  • Day 8: Yangon

    If you have time before your onward flight, take a ride on Yangon’s circular train this morning. The roughly 30-minute journey takes you through the city’s outskirts, moving slowly and allowing you to immerse yourself in local color. Get off at Kyi Myin Daing Market where you can wander through the stalls and chat with the friendly vendors. Feel free to sample a few homegrown fruits or vegetables before returning to Yangon by private vehicle.

    In the afternoon visit Bogyoke Market, also known as “Scott Market” after its founder, George Scott, who established the market in 1926. A major bazaar in downtown Yangon, this haven of hand-made knick-knacks, jewelry stands and craft vendors offers a maze of eye-catching stalls. (Please note: Bogyoke Market is closed on Mondays and public holidays.)

    Your local guide will make sure you reach the airport in time to catch your departure flight.

    Meals included on this day: Breakfast

    Burmese Woman hawker carrying Watermelon

All of our Tours can be Tailored, Just Ask!

Local vietnamese woman

Tour Details

All of our itineraries can be tailored to your requirements, allowing us to create the perfect holiday just for you. Contact us with your holiday ideas, no matter how big or small, and we’ll start planning your unique personalized trip!

Tour prices are a guideline only, and are based on two persons travelling together, sharing a double or twin room in luxury accommodation. Each tour price and can be adjusted depending on budget, activities included and standard of accommodation desired.

Tour and airfare prices include all applicable taxes and are subject to change without prior notice until services are booked.

You, your holiday and booking direct: Backyard Travel are on the ground year-round in Asia, which means you are booking direct with a local travel company, allowing you to save on the cost of your holiday. Our tailor-made tours are designed by local Travel Specialists who investigate every aspect of the trip themselves, giving you a unique view of each destination.

icon Included in this Backyard Travel tour:

Accommodation with daily breakfast at selected hotels
Private tours, transfers and all services as mentioned in the itinerary
Services of a private driver and air-conditioned vehicles
Service of English speaking guides in every location
Entrance fees for all mentioned sights visited
Meals as mentioned in the itinerary

icon Not included in this Backyard Travel tour:

Domestic and international flights
Departure taxes if applicable
Meals other than those mentioned in the itinerary
Early check-in and late check-out at hotels
Personal expenses (such as laundry, telephone, drinks, etc.)
Tips for guides and drivers
Personal travel insurance
Visa fees (contact us for further information)

Why Backyard Travel?


Our experienced travel specialists possess years of local insider knowledge, because they live here.

We have offices in all of our destinations in asia, fully staffed and open all year-round.

With backyard travel you are booking direct, allowing you to save and benefit local residents.

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Our advantage lies in having local expertise to create unique, bespoke tours. Whether you’re looking to cruise down Asia’s tranquil rivers, bike the peaceful rural roads, or eat at bustling night markets, Backyard Travel’s in-country Travel Specialists can plan your ideal trip. Send us a message about your ideas, and we'll send you our best suggestions.


 

 

 

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Our local travel specialists are eager to discuss your tour ideas in their destinations. Just drop us a line.
Ask a Travel Specialist
Our local travel specialists are eager to discuss your tour ideas in their destinations. Just drop us a line.
Ask a Travel Specialist
Our local travel specialists are eager to discuss your tour ideas in their destinations. Just drop us a line.