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Exploring Myanmar (Burma) Holidays

Meander through Myanmar

This two-week tour of Myanmar takes you to the highlights and beyond; beginning in Mandalay you will explore the ancient former capitals of this fascinating country before heading north for a slice of rural life in Hsipaw. From there you travel to Bagan to admire hundreds of temples, stupas and pagodas before visiting elephants in Kalaw and the idyllic and iconic Inle Lake – you finish your journey with a few days on the beach.


Your Itinerary

u-bein bridge, mandalay

Day 1 - Welcome to Mandalay!

After meeting your private guide and driver at the airport, they will take you to some fascinating sights on the way to Mandalay. Start with a visit to the snake temple in Paleik, which has 3 pythons that sleep at the feet of Buddha, before seeing one of the largest monasteries, the famous Mahamuni pagoda and the old capital of Amarapura. As the sun sets, walk over U-Bein Bridge and take a boat ride. Check into The Bagan King tonight (superior room).

Ayeyarwady river cruise

Day 2 - Cruise the Ayeyarwady River to Mingun & Ava

Today you will board a boat to visit the former royal capitals around Mandalay. Stop at Mingun Pagoda (and see a huge crack caused by an earthquake) before taking a leisurely boat cruise for about 3 hours downstream to delightful Ava – a simple lunch packed in rattan baskets is served on board. In Ava, horse carts will take you around this magnificent site of ancient temple ruins before returning to Mandalay by car.

Day 3 - Off the beaten track in Hsipaw

This morning you will be driven to the scenic town of Hsipaw in Northern Shan state by private car. In the late afternoon your guide will take you for a 2.5 hour walk through paddy fields and other seasonal crops, passing small creeks and water buffalo, small villages and local schools and monasteries. You will learn about Shan traditions, spirit houses and local industries before relaxing at your lush Riverside Lodge (bungalow room).

Day 4 - A Day of Shan State Royal History

This morning you will be shown around the historic Shan Palace by the cousin of the last prince of Hsipaw. Mrs Fern will welcome you and tell you the fascinating story of her family’s fall from grace in post-colonial Burma (if she is at home, if not the guide will explain the history). Continue by boat on the Dokthawaddy River and drive to a monastery built by a prince for a traditional Shan lunch. Enjoy a free afternoon.

Day 5 - Train Ride over Gokteik Viaduct to Pyin Oo Lwin

Enjoy a wonderful train journey through the Shan mountains crossing the mighty Gokteik Viaduct which was constructed in 1901 in British colonial times and was once the second highest railway bridge in the world. You pass spectacular scenery and small villages and towns where vendors will enter the train to sell drinks and local snacks. After a five hour train ride, the colonial town of Pyin Oo Lwin – and your lovely hotel – is a short drive away (deluxe room).

Day 6 - Colonial Pyin oo Lwin & Yandabo

Spend your morning admiring the colonial buildings and pretty botanical gardens of Pyin Oo Lwin, a colonial hill station that was popular with the British who sought refuge from the heat of the city. Afterwards, your private driver will escort you to the riverside village of Yandabo, which is famous for its clay pottery, with lunch en route at a local restaurant. Spend tonight at the delightful Yandabo Home (standard room).

drive between yangon and mandalay

Day 7 - Yandabo & Pakkoku en-route to Bagan

This morning explore the village of Yandabo, known for the signing of the Yandabo Treaty which took place under a tree on the riverbank in 1826, between the British and Burmese. Continue to Pakkoku by Private car (3.5 hrs driving), where you will visit a local slipper factory and market before taking a private boat to Bagan. Lunch is served on board, before stopping at Kyauk Gu Ohnmin cave temple. Check into Tharabar Gate Hotel (deluxe room)

Day 8 - Bagan: A deep impression

We start the day climbing Buledi or Shwesandaw Paya for a first impressive view over the area. From here, you explore Gubyaukgyi Temple, famous for its frescoes and Ananda, which is one of he most beautiful temples – and the uncompleted Dhammayangyi with its chilling ghost stories! Enjoy a picnic lunch in quiet and often deserted temple ruins. before taking a horse cart to a sunset pagoda with some refreshing drinks served!

Day 9 - A day with elephants in their natural surroundings

This morning we will fly you to Heho and drive you to nearby Kalaw, home to the Elephant Conservation Project. Your specialist guide will take you for a rewarding day in the forest – encountering elephants, their mahouts and local people. A delicious lunch with local specialities (often from Nepalese origin) will be served and you will also help the mahout wash and feed the elephants before checking into the idyllic Kalaw Hill Lodge (deluxe room).

Day 10 - Bike to Inle Lake

Today we have planned the most fun way for you to arrive at nearby Inle Lake. Your luggage will be transferred but you can enjoy a leisurely bike ride from Thaung Lay Lone to Indein. After a short drive, you begin your 3 hours bike trip –  which is mainly flat – passing sugarcane and garlic fields, Khaung Dine village with some beautiful views on Inle Lake. At Indein visit the famous ruins before continuing to Pristine Lotus by boat (floating duplex room).

Day 11 - A Day on the Lake

Enjoy a full day boating around the lake. Highlights include the colourful rotating five-day markets frequented by the Shan and Pa O people, the famous Intha fisherman rowing in the one-legged style; and visits to Phaungdaw U Pagoda, and a local cheroot factory(Burmese cigar). We will walk about 1 hour to enjoy a fantastic view over the lake. A home-made cooked lunch is served in a local house.

Day 12 - 14 - Off to the Beach!

To finish your trip we will fly you to the beautiful Ngapali Beach, which has quickly become one of our favourite beach destinations in south-east Asia. Lined with rugged palm trees, this big sweeping bay of pristine sand feels so untouched and undeveloped. We’ve planned nothing for you for the last three days of your trip so you can relax, unwind and reflect on all you have seen from the comfort of Yoma Cherry Hotel (upper garden room).

Day 15 - Bon voyage!

Get ready to bid your farewells to this beautiful country (and maybe plot your return!) After a leisurely breakfast we will fly you back to Yangon, where you will arrive by 1pm. From here nothing has been organised so you can catch your international flight home. Safe Travels!


This itinerary costs from £3,195 per person B&B based on 2 sharing and including all private transfers but not international flights.

You can get flights from as little as £500 per person return and do ask us for advice. Alternatively we can book the flights for you but a booking fee may apply.

What's included?

  • Prices start from £3,195 per person
  • Accommodation on B&B basis
  • Private transfers (air-conditioned vehicle)
  • All entrance fees with service of English speaking guide for excursions
  • 9 lunches
  • Internal flights
  • Local taxes
  • All trips are ATOL protected or ABTA bonded to ensure you are fully covered
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With one of the most evocative names in the region, Mandalay is the second biggest city in Myanmar and the gateway to great trekking in Hsipaw in the north. It is home to the iconic U-Bein Bridge (one of the most photographed sites in the country) and close to the old royal capital of Amarapura.
This is one of the best places to get off the beaten track and see rural Myanmar. Stay in a beautiful riverside lodge, take a trek through rice paddies and visit small Shan villagers where locals live just as they did 50 years ago. We also offer a fabulous boat ride upstream to a monastery which serves as a school for young novice monks.
Bagan is the ancient settlement that has really put Myanmar (Burma) on the map. With more than 2,000 historic stupas, temples and pagodas spread over a vast area, you really have to see it to believe it. We will ensure you get to the best spots for sunset or sunrise to see this amazing sprawl of temples over the valley - or better yet ask us about a balloon ride!
Inle Lake
This impressive freshwater lake is more than 13 miles long and resembles a vast silver sheet, reflecting the sky like a mirror. It is home to hundreds of herons, wild ducks and other bird life - as well as local fishermen who use unique fishing techniques with baskets. We have a fabulous selection of over-the-water boutique hotels to choose from.
Ngapali Beach
This has quickly become one of our favourite beach destinations in south-east Asia. Lined with rugged palm trees, this big sweeping bay of pristine sand feels so untouched and undeveloped. However, lying in the shade of the pine trees are a number of beautiful and tastefully designed luxury hotels that blend into their surroundings - we can't think of a better excuse to stop for a few days!
The Golden Rock
An important pilgrimage site for Buddhists around Asia; a large and precariously positioned gold-covered rock sits on the top of a mountain - home to one of the most well-visited stupas in the country. Expect an atmosphere charged with magic and devotion as everyone makes their way to the Golden Rock.
Mrauk- U
This former Rakhine capital offers a dramatic group of temples and pagodas (newer than those of Bagan) which have a fortress feel to them as they are made of stone with long twisting corridors inside. But it's also the perfect gateway for seeing rural river life - you can enjoy a boat ride here to Chin villages where the older women have their faces tattooed from a no-longer abided tribal tradition.
This charming city feels incredibly metropolitan compared to the rest of the country, but set against other Asian cities feels quite small. You can see the colonial architecture of a time gone by, sample some of the county's best street food and visit the remarkable Shwedagon Pagoda, which can be seen sparkling from almost anywhere in Yangon and is one of the most revered sites for Buddhism in the world, and said to enshrine eight hairs from Buddha.
A unique combination of landscape and beauty, Mawlamyine boasts a ridge of stupa capped hills to one side, the sea on the other and a town full of crumbling colonial architecture and mosques. From here you can explore remote ruins, sacred temples and un-touched beaches.
Explore Buddhist caves, sacred mountains and wonderfully rural countryside from this sleepy Mon State town
Pyin Oo Lwin
You would be forgiven for thinking you'd stumbled across an old English town at this colonial hill station, which was a favourite for British generals who were looking to escape the heat of the city below. Be sure to take a turn in the beautifully manicured Botanical Gardens.
Myeik Archipelago
A cluster of about 800 pristine and picture perfect white sand islands off the main coast of Myanmar. Most are completely uninhabited - or home to a small village or two where the nomadic seafaring Moken people live. These are best explored on a 3 or 4 night cruise - and we have some beautiful luxurious boats on offer.

Your adventure starts here!

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