Duration: 12 nights private tour
Price from: £2499pp
Mandalay 3 nights
Mount Popa 1 night
Bagan 2 nights
Pindaya 1 night
Kalaw 1 night
Inle Lake 3 nights
Yangon 1 night
Day 1: Fly to Mandalay.
Day 2 Mandalay: On arrival, transfer to your hotel. This afternoon see the Royal Palace, Shwenandaw Monastery and Kuthodaw Pagoda, known as the world’s largest book as surrounding the pagoda are 729 shrines each containing an inscribed marble slab. Continue to Mandalay Hill for panoramic city views.
Day 3 Mandalay: Travel by long boat along the Ayeyarwady River to Mingun. Here, visit the Mingun Pagoda, Mingun bell and finally Mya Thein Tan Pagoda, regarded as the Taj Mahal of Myanmar. Return by boat to Mandalay and continue to Amarapura to see the Bagaya Monastery, Kyauktawgyi Pagoda and a silk weaving workshop. Finally, watch the sunset from the U Bein Bridge.
Day 4 Mandalay: Travel to picturesque Sagaing Hills, a retreat for Buddhist devotees with numerous pagodas and monasteries. Stop at some of the most famous temples, such as Tupayon Paya and Hsinmyashin Paya. Continue to the former royal capital of Inwa (Ava), now a quiet rural oasis beside the Ayeyarwady River. Take a leisurely horse-drawn carriage ride around the peaceful countryside, briefly visiting Bagaya Kyaung, a beautiful teak wood monastery, Maha Agungmyay Bonzan Kyaung and Nan Myint Tower. On the way watch local artisans make iron alms bowls.
Day 5 Mandalay/Mount Popa: Fly to Bagan and on arrival visit Nyaung U Market for great photo opportunities and to mingle with locals. Proceed to Schwezigon Pagoda, a prototype of later Myanmar stupa; Wetkyi-in Gubyaukkyi Temple; and Tharabar Gate. Drive to Mount Popa, an extinct volcano, upon which the sacred Popa Taungkalat Monastery is dramatically perched. Climb the 777 steps to the summit and you’re rewarded with stunning views.
Day 6 Mount Popa/Bagan: Drive to Salay to visit Yoke-son Monastery which is fabulously decorated with religious woodcarvings. Drive to Bagan and, after an insight into the lacquerware industry, visit Manuha Temple, home to gigantic Buddha images. Continue to Nanpaya, an early-style temple with fine stone carvings and this evening visit the Ananda Temple, thought to date from around 1105.
Day 7 Bagan: Visit Minnanthu for a glimpse of typical Myanmar village life. The afternoon sightseeing in Bagan includes numerous temples and pagodas such as Shwe Gukyi Temple, “Thatbyinnyu”, Dhammayangyi, and Sulamuni Temple with its fine 18th century frescos.
Day 8 Bagan/Pindaya: Fly to Heho. On arrival drive to Pindaya and visit Pindaya caves, which houses thousands of Buddha images. Later, visit a family that makes colourful handmade paper umbrellas and gifts.
Day 9 Pindaya/Kalaw: Drive to the old hill station of Kalaw, which has a refreshing climate and scenic views. Trek to the surrounding Palaung Hills to visit local hill tribes.
Day 10 Kalaw/Inle Lake: Tour a market in Kalaw before travelling to Nyaung Shwe, home to Inle Lake. En route visit a vineyard and winery to sample some of the wine.
Day 11 Inle Lake: Morning lake cruise to see the Intha fishermen who uniquely row using one leg. Visit a traditional lotus and silk weaving village, the cheroot Burmese mild cigar cottage industry, silversmith village and learn about traditional boat making. Continue to Nga Phe Kyaung Monastery and Phaung Daw Oo Monastery.
Day 12 Inle Lake: Travel by boat to the lake’s western shore and a stairway leading to the hidden Indein temple complex. Located on the shore of the lake, this site consists of hundreds of small stupas overgrown by moss and greens. Continue on foot past rice fields to explore the village of Sae Ma. In the afternoon meet village locals on the lake before travelling onward to a monastery.
Day 13 Inle/Yangon: Fly to Yangon. On arrival visit Chaukhtatkyi Pagoda home to a huge reclining Buddha before a brief stop at the Sule Pagoda. This evening proceed to Chinatown’s Bogyoke Market, which is housed in a beautiful colonial building and has over 2,000 shops. Finally, head to Shwedagon Pagoda, the most well-known in Yangon and completely covered in gold.
Day 14 Yangon: Today’s sightseeing includes Botataung Pagoda, a famous landmark on Yangon’s waterfront, Pansodan Jetty and the wonderful Strand Hotel which opened in 1901. En route to the airport visit Kaba Aye (World Peace) Pagoda and Mahapasana Gua (Great Cave). Your tour ends with a transfer to the airport for your onward journey. Alternatively, why not extend your stay with time at Ngapali beach
Optional beach extension: Alternatively, why not extend your stay with time to relax at beautiful Ngapali beach, which is just 50 minutes flight from Yangon.
Accommodation: 3* accommodation. Upgraded hotels and extra nights in each destination available at a supplement.
Tour price: The price shown for this privately escorted tour by air-conditioned car is based on the best value travel dates in low season and includes return international flights from the UK, domestic flights, private transfers between your hotels, accommodation, sightseeing as outlined, private services of an English speaking guide and entrance fees.
Pindaya, Kalaw and Inle Lake can be chilly in the mornings and evening between Nov-Apr, so you may wish to pack a jumper.