Trails of Myanmar Itinerary

12 Days 11 Nights

Itinerary Overview

This exciting 11 night itinerary covers the major sites along with lesser known sites. You will visit cities and villages, monasteries, pagodas and temples, learn about Buddhism, see beautiful scenery, cruise on the Irrawaddy River, ride in a hot air balloon over amazing Bagan, meet locals and enjoy a culinary lesson.

Day 1 Yangon

Upon arrival at Yangon airport, you will be welcomed by your guide and will drive to the corner of Strand and Pansodan Road that is famous for Yangon’s most impressive colonial buildings.

Start your colonial heritage walking tour seeing Myanmar Port Authority, Formal Police Commissioner’s Office currently known as the House of Township Courts and Legal Office, Customs House, Pension House, Former New Law Court, Former Bank of Bengal built in 1914 now as Myanmar Economic Bank and the Former US Embassy. Cross the greens of Maha Bandoola Garden where the Independence Monument is situated. Just in front, you will see the City Hall and then continue onto the Former Rowe & Co. Department Store built in 1920, which is next to City Hall. This walking tour will take approximately 1 hr which can also be done by driving.

Stop at Rangoon Tea House for a drink of Burmese tea. Afterwards, check into the hotel. In the late afternoon, visit the spectacular Shwedagon Pagoda.

Hotel: Belmond Governor’s Residence
Day 2 Yangon – Bagan

After breakfast, transfer to the airport for your domestic flight to Bagan.

Upon arrival, start your tour with a stroll through the colorful local market and continue the day with visits to the most significant pagodas and temples of Bagan: Shwezigon Pagoda built by King Anawrahta in the early 11th century as a religious shrine, Ku Byauk Gyi, a temple, with superb frescoes and Ananda Temple with its four magnificent standing Buddha images. Afterwards, you will be transferred to the hotel for check in and a short break. 

In the afternoon, take a ride on a decorated horse cart to some of the more off the beaten temple sites. Enjoy sunset over the temple ruins during the ride. 

Hotel: Aureum Bagan Resort
Day 3 Bagan

At 5:30am, you will be picked up at your hotel and will be transferred to the hot air balloon launching place. The spectacular sunrise flight is about one hour. The balloon allows you a serene and peaceful bird’s eye view of the ancient temples. The balloon will land on the Irrawaddy River or in an open field where you will be served a glass of champagne. Return to the hotel by about 9am.

After breakfast, transfer to one of the monasteries around Bagan to participate in a Soon offering (seasonal fruits and local snacks). The villagers still make food donations to the monks in order to prove their gratitude towards them. You will have the opportunity to experience this offering and in return you will receive a special blessing and a holy thread from the monks to ensure good luck and happiness.

In the afternoon, learn about the manufacturing of Myanmar’s most treasured handicraft and visit a lacquerware workshop in nearby Myinkaba village. Later, explore the Nannaya Temple, a unique sandstone monument, which according to legends use to be the palace site of King Manuha. 

Enjoy the sunset over the plains and mountains of Bagan while cruising on the Irrawaddy River and embark at one of the sandbanks in the river for sunset drinks. 

If you would like, a temple view candlelit dinner can be arranged. The entertainment will be traditional Myanmar dance and music.

Hotel: Aureum Bagan Resort
Day 4 Bagan – Mount Popa

After breakfast, you will be met at your hotel for an excursion to Mount Popa, an extinct volcano with spectacular views. The drive is 50kms and about 1 ½ hours. The place is dedicated to animist spirits known as ‘nats’ and you will have time to climb the 777 steps to the shrine at the top of the peak. This tour includes a stop at a toddy palm plantation and if time permits, a visit to one of the typical local villages. Afterwards, transfer to your hotel for check in. The rest of the day will be at your leisure.

Hotel: Popa Mountain Resort
Day 5 Mount Popa – Mandalay

After breakfast, proceed to Mandalay by road, approximately 240 kms and about a 4 hour drive. Upon arrival, embark on a short boat ride on the river. Explore the former Royal Capital Inwa (Ava) by horse cart. Visit Nanmyint Watch Tower, the remains of the ancient palace building, also known as “the leaning tower of Ava“, Maha Aungmye Bonzan Monastery, built of brick and stucco, and Bargayar Monastery, famous for its impressive ornate woodcarvings and teak posts. Continue onto Sagaing Hills, a retreat for Buddhist devotees. 

Transfer to a 200-year-old U Bein teak bridge built in 1782 during the era when Amarapura was the Royal capital. Enjoy the sunset from the bridge. Check into your hotel at the end of the day. 

Hotel: Mercure Mandalay Hill Resort Hotel
Day 6 Mandalay – Mingun

After breakfast, experience the sights and sounds of Mandalay: Shwe Inbin Monastery, the Golden Palace Monastery which is a superb example of a traditional wooden building and the Kuthodaw Pagoda, the world’s largest book made of marble. Visit one of the most revered religious monuments in Myanmar, the Mahamuni Pagoda.

In the afternoon, take an excursion by boat on the Irrawaddy River to Mingun about 11 km (1h) upriver from Mandalay. Visit one of the world’s largest bells, the 90 ton Mingun Bell, Hsinbyume Paya, and the unfinished Mingun Paya meant to become the largest stupa in Myanmar, constructed by King Bodaw Paya. Enjoy the sunset while cruising back to Mandalay. 

Hotel: Mercure Mandalay Hill Resort
Day 7 Mandalay – Pyin Oo Lwin - Mandalay

After breakfast, a scenic drive of 80km and about 2 hours will take you to the former British hill station Pyin Oo Lwin (Maymyo). This is a delightful small town with colonial-style buildings, markets and a botanical garden. Upon arrival, venture out to visit the Peik Khyin Myaung Caves. Proceed to Pwe Kyauk Falls, a favorite picnic spot for local people before transferring back to Mandalay.

Hotel: Mercure Mandalay Hill Resort
Day 8 Mandalay – Heho –Pindaya

After breakfast, you will be transferred to the airport for the domestic flight to Heho. 

Upon arrival, proceed by road to Pindaya for 59 km, 2hours and visit Pindaya Caves, a unique site housing thousands of Buddha images placed there by pilgrims and devotees over the centuries. 

Hotel: Pindaya Inle Inn
Day 9 Pindaya - Inle Lake

After breakfast, your trekking guide will pick you up at your hotel in Pindaya. You will hike across the town and then ascend gradually up to the Danu tribal village of Taung Paw Gyi, a place for tea plantations and trading. A simple local lunch will be prepared by a local family.

Afterwards, transfer to Nyaung Shwe for 90 km, 2 ½ hours and proceed to your hotel for check in. 

Hotel: Inle Princess Resort
Day 10 Inle Lake

After breakfast, a full day excursion at the lake starts with a visit to one of the colorful local markets (on market days only) which is followed by the sightseeing around the lake. You will see the famous Inthar leg rowers, floating gardens, local methods of fishing, village life and magnificent scenery. Visit the Phaungdaw Oo Pagoda, one of the most sacred shrines in Myanmar dating back to the 18th century, the Nga Phe Monastery with a beautiful collection of ancient Buddha images and the weaving village of Inpawkhon

Hotel: Inle Princess Resort
Day 11 Inle Lake

After breakfast, embark by long tail boat for a ride to the western shore of the lake where you will find the beginning of a stair path leading to the hidden Indein Pagoda complex. This is one of the most amazing historical sights on the shore of the lake consisting of hundreds of small stupas overgrown by moss and greens. Continue on foot to a village nearby where several crops are grown in traditional ways. 

Proceed by boat to Thei Lei Oo, a beautiful rural farming village, on the eastern shore of Inle Lake. It is at the heart of one of the most important farming areas of the lake. The inhabitants of the village are Inn Tha and Pa O ethnic minority groups. They are well known for their farming skills and organic farming methods. The major crops farmed are rice, sugar cane, potatoes, tomatoes, garlic and a variety of beans as well as cucumber and flowers. During the winter season (November to February), the harvested sugar cane is sent to small on – site molasses plants where the juice is extracted, made into molasses and then sent to the city for use in the production of Mandalay Rum. You will follow an agro trail that runs from the lake through the village and the surrounding organic farmland in a wide looping curve back to the lake. It affords an excellent window into village life untouched by modern development. Return to hotel by boat

Enjoy a cooking class for lunch at Inthar Heritage. Join the chef at preparing some local Shan dishes. The chef will explain the ingredients which will be included in the dishes being cooked. You will enjoy the dishes cooked.

Hotel: Inle Princess Resort
Day 12 Inle Lake – Heho – Yangon - Departure

After breakfast, transfer to the airport for the domestic flight to Yangon. Upon arrival, car and guide will be at your disposal until you are transferred to the airport for your international departure flight. 

All travellers to Myanmar require a visa. These are the following ways to obtain a Myanmar Visa.

A. Myanmar Embassy or Consulate

Apply for a tourist visa at any Myanmar Embassy or Consulate. Tourist visas are issued for duration of 28 days at all Myanmar Embassies or Consulates. Any tourist whether travelling on a package tour or individually will receive the same type of tourist visa. A 6-month-valid passport from arrival date in Myanmar is necessary.

B. E-Visa has been introduced since September 1, 2014 according to official announcement by the Ministry of Immigration and Population. For further information, please see the website established for applications  HYPERLINK “http://