- Day 1: Arrival Mandalay – Visit Mandalay Hill
- Day 2: Mandalay City tour
- Day 3: Mandalay – Ayeyarwady River Cruise – Mingun
- Day 4: River Cruise – Sagaing – Yandabo Village – Downstream to Sagaing
- Day 5: Ayeyarwady River Cruise – Bagan
- Day 6: Bagan – Chauk – Salay
- Day 7: Bagan – Flight to Heho/ Nyaung Shwe – Transfer to Inle Lake
- Day 8: Inle Lake – Indein
- Day 9: Nyaung Shwe – Transfer to Heho – Flight to Yangon – Shwedagon Pagoda
- Day 10: Yangon – Train Ride – Sule Pagoda – Colonial Walking Tour
- Day 11: Yangon – Departure
- This itinerary is a privately guided tour, designed just to show you what is possible.
- We can tailor this trip, it's inclusions and the accommodations, to meet your requirements, budget, and interests.
Arrival Mandalay – Visit Mandalay HillDay 1
Upon your arrival in Mandalay, get welcomed by your tour guide and transferred to your hotel for check-in. This evening, enjoy a commanding overview of the city from the Mandalay Hill.
Overnight in Mandalay
Mandalay City tourDay 2
Visit Mahamuni Pagoda, the second most sacred image in Myanmar next to the Shwedagon Pagoda. Contine to visit local artisan’s workshops of gold leaf making, woodcarving and marble carving. Next, visit Golden Palace Monastery famous for its intricate woodcarvings.
After lunch continue to the Kuthodaw Pagoda, which is known as the world largest book due to the Buddhist scripture carved on 729 marble slabs. Before sunset visit a 200-year-old teak bridge, the most photographic site in Myanmar.
Overnight in Mandalay
Mandalay – Ayeyarwady River CruiseDay 3
After breakfast at the hotel, enjoy your day at leisure until transfer to the jetty. The embarkation time is at 12.00 hrs at Gawein jetty. Then, enjoy welcome cocktails in the saloon.
Upstream to Mingun
Lunch will be served at 13.00. The sailing time is about 2 hrs. Your English speaking manager (or your private guide) will assist the guests during the visit of the Mingun Pagoda Complex.
Moor Overnight at a sandbank mid-stream. After dinner, guests can enjoy a dance and drama performance by the Mandalay Arts School on the sundeck (if available).
Overnight on board
Ayeyarwady River Cruise – Sagaing – Yandabo Village – Downstream to SagaingDay 4
Early in the morning cruise downstream. During the 2 hour journey, passengers can admire the natural beauty of the river and the life on its banks while relaxing on the sundeck or just sitting outside their own cabin. Enjoy the sunrise over Sagaing Hill.
You will go ashore to visit Sagaing with the assistance of your Ship Manager or their own guide.
Downstream to Bagan. Cast off time is at 11.15 hrs and then lunch.
You stop at Yandabo, a village specializing in pot-making and where the peace treaty of the First Anglo-Burmese war was signed on Feb. 24, 1826. Cruise all day and moor overnight near the river villageof Shwe Nann Tint.
Overnight on board
Ayeyarwady River Cruise – BaganDay 5
Proceed downriver to Bagan early in the morning. After breakfast (if time permits) you visit another typical river village.
Enjoy the sunrise near Bagan. Disembark at Aye Yar jetty around 10.15 hrs. Then your private guide and driver will pick you up and transfer you to the hotel to check in. The rest of the day is free at your leisure.
Overnight in Bagan
Bagan – Chauk – SalayDay 6
Begin with a drive south, parallel to the Irrawaddy River, en route to Salay. After one hour, you’ll make a stop in Chauk which has a colorful morning market to explore. Few tourists visit this market and it is a great place for local interaction and photos.
Continue to Salay (30 minutes) an important center of Buddhism in Myanmar with many active monasteries. Salay, many years ago, created its own unique style of Bagan-era architecture. While visiting Salay you will learn more about monastic life, Burmese Buddhism and this unique architectural style as you visit several sites including Yoke Sone Kyaung monastery, one of the oldest wooden halls in the area.
Wind our way back to Bagan. The remainder of the day is free at your leisure.
Overnight in Bagan
Bagan – Flight to Heho/ Nyaung Shwe – Transfer to Inle LakeDay 7
After breakfast, fly to Heho, a gateway to Inle Lake. From Heho drive to NyaungShwe where you board your boat & transfer to your hotel for check in. Enjoy the full day tour by private boat in Inle lake. Visit the Phaung Daw Oo Pagoda, the most holy religious site in southern Shan State. Be amazed by the local handicrafts, silk weaving, wooden handlooms and traditional blacksmith methods along the way.
Visiting Inle Lake is not just about being on the water, but also about discovering the Shan and Intha villages on the banks of the river. Pass the endless floating gardens, houses, monasteries built on stilts on the lake. Proceed to the village of Nampan and see a local cheroot factory (where the Burmese cigars are made) and canoe carving.
Overnight in NyaungShwe
Inle Lake – IndeinDay 8
Begin your day with a visit to a market. This market, which rotates locations every five days, is frequented by the hill tribe people dressed in colorful, traditional who come here to barter for goods and produce.
You continue your sightseeing in Inle Lake, maneuvering by boat though long, scenic channels. You will visit the fascinating village of Indein, with its complex of ancient shrines and stupas and walk though exotic colonnades of stairways and shop stalls. You’ll also visit the “long neck” tribal women, and weaving and craft villages perched on stilts. See the lake’s unique “leg rowers” – the Intha people row standing up with one leg wrapped around an oar. It is a feast for the senses and a photographer’s dream.
Overnight in NyaungShwe
Nyaung Shwe – Transfer to Heho – Flight to Yangon – Shwedagon PagodaDay 9
Morning flight back to Yangon.
Upon arrival you are met and transferred to the hotel in down town to check in.
After a short rest you will enjoyed a guide tour of this fascinating city. Visit the famous Chauk Htat Kyi, home to a 70-meter long reclining Buddha. The feet of the statue are carved with traditional symbols and often many locals gather here to pay homage and pray.
Next is the photo stop at the Karaweik Hall royal floating barge. Nothing will prepare you for Shwedagon Pagoda with its glittering gold stupa. At the pagoda, observe local pilgrims and monks offering their devotions and enjoy the amazing sunset view at Shwedagon pagoda.
Overnight in Yangon
Yangon – Train Ride – Sule Pagoda – Colonial Walking TourDay 10
After breakfast, drive to the train station for the train ride for about 1 hour. Enjoy the real lifestyle of locals and see the beautiful scenes. Then, enjoy private tour and drive through downtown to explore the city centre and its fabulous mix of architecture and sites. The streets are filled with historical buildings many of which have a faded colonial charm not seen elsewhere in Asia.
Continue with a walking tour of the colonial street. You’ll start at the post office – a lovely historic building, pass by the Strand Hotel, the Buddhist landmarks of Sule Paya, Mahabandoola Garden and Independence Monument along the way.
Overnight in Yangon
Yangon – DepartureDay 11
After breakfast, day at leisure until your private driver collect you from your hotel and transfer you back to Yangon airport for your International departure flight.
This tour is built upon our firsthand knowledge & experience, offering you the best choices available. The price of this trip varies depending on the number of people in your party, dates of departure, and availability of ground services.
Please click on REQUEST A FREE QUOTE (above) and supply the required information, enabling us to send you your personalized quote within 24 hours!
Note: Amendments CAN be made to this tour to suite your requirements, but may incur price changes
- Accommodation with daily breakfast at selected hotels
- Private Vehicles and Drivers
- Private English Speaking Guides (Other languages if available, upon request)
- Meals as mentioned in the itinerary (B= Breakfast, L= Lunch, D= Dinner)
- Domestic flights within Myanmar
- Entrance fees for all mentioned sights visited
- Service Charge & Government Taxes
What’s Not Included?
- Your International Flights to and from Myanmar (Burma)
- Myanmar entry Visa Fees (contact us for further information)
- Personal Expenses (such as laundry, telephone, drinks, etc.)
- Any bank fees or charges at your end
- Meals other than those mentioned in the itinerary
- Personal Travel Insurance
- Tips for guides and drivers
How to Plan a successful Trip to Myanmar, Step-by-Step
Why to Visit Myanmar
Where to Go
When to Go
Obtain a Myanmar Visa
How to book a tour
Packing and Luggage Allowance
Why to Visit Myanmar
Myanmar (previously known as Burma) is a perfect destination for travelers looking for a unique get-away to a beautiful and exotic locale. This tropical country offers travelers an amazing landscape and a rich cultural heritage, influenced by Southeast Asia’s traditions. However, as a country that has only just recently opened its doors to tourism, Burma still retains an air of mystery, making it all the more intriguing.
With nearly 2,000 miles of coastline and a handful of mountain ranges, Myanmar has more than its share in natural beauty. Trek through the rolling green hills, discover Sagar to the south of Inle Lake, cycle to markets and ruins, boat around floating villages, sample well-spiced Burmese cuisine, and visit mysterious temples. You will get to not only discover, but also really live in this unique cultural atmosphere.
In exploring Myanmar, you will also enjoy the perfect combination of luxury and adventure.
Where to Go
Most popular sites of Myanmar
• Breathtaking Bagan bags a well-deserved top spot on this list of the best places to visit in Myanmar. Seeing Bagan by the hot-balloon is becoming increasingly popular, and offers a truly unique view of this 26-square-mile land of temples.
• The Shwedagon Pagoda, also known as the Golden Pagoda, is a gilded stupa located in Yangon, Myanmar. The 99-meter-tall (325 ft) pagoda is situated on Singuttara Hill, to the west of Kandawgyi Lake, and dominates the Yangon skyline.
• Inle Lake – for an excellent view of the verdant, bucolic side of Myanmar.
• U Bein Bridge – the longest and oldest teakwood bridge in the world
• Kyaiktiyo Pagoda (Golden Rock ), a small pagoda built on the top of a granite boulder covered with gold leaves pasted on by its male devotees.
• Shwenandaw Monastery is a historic Buddhist monastery located near Mandalay Hill, Mandalay Region, Myanmar.
• National Kandawgyi Gardens – home to over 500 different flower species
• Bagaya Kyaung – a 200-year-old Buddhist monastery
When to Go
Like most Southeast Asian countries, Myanmar has two main seasons: dry and wet.
The dry season runs from October to May, and the wet season from June to October. Generally, most people prefer to travel during the drier months, but even during the wet season, the northern and central regions of Myanmar are cooler and drier than the southern parts, making year-round travel possible.
Obtain a Myanmar Visa
Most foreign nationals require a visa to enter Myanmar. Visa-free travel for 14 days, or longer in some cases, is permitted only to citizens of Thailand, Singapore, Vietnam, Philippines, Indonesia, Brunei, Cambodia, and Laos.
In addition to getting visas at embassies and consulates, Myanmar has an online e-visa system. It is designed to make the process of application simpler for visitors – particularly those from countries that do not have a Burmese embassy. For e-visa applications, please visit the official Ministry of Immigration e-visa website.
E-visas are currently only valid for entry at Myanmar’s three main international airports: Yangon, Mandalay and Nay Pyi Taw, as well as overland travel to Myanmar via the Thai-Myanmar border points of Mae Sai / Tachileik, Mae Sot / Myawaddy and Ranong / Kawthaung only. The e-visa is not valid for China, India, Thai or any other land border entry points.
Tourist visas are valid for 28 days and costs around USD$50, which can be extended an extra 14 days at a cost of USD$3 per day, plus a one-time USD$3 administration fee. It is important to be ready with the correct change at your departure point as change will not be provided. Bear in mind that if you overstay, you might encounter some difficulties booking travel and/or hotels during your overstay period, as not all service staff are aware of the overstay allowance.
Do not apply for your visa too early: the period for visa validity (i.e. your Burmese entry date) may range from 1 to 3 months.
Do not apply for your visa too late: embassies and consulates can take 2 weeks or more to process your application, but this varies from country to country. If you are from a country that does not have a Burmese embassy or consulate, it will take longer still.
If you wish to apply for a physical visa, the visa photo criteria are 5 cm high x 3.5 cm wide on a white background, no glasses and no smiling.
You must have a passport that is valid for at least six months after your departure from Myanmar.
How to book a tour
Booking your holiday with Indochina Pioneer cannot be easier! Follow our 3 simple steps:
Step 1: Browse our website www.indochinapioneer.com for tours, cruises and other destination information.
Should you find something that matches your interest, fill in the REQUEST A FREE QUOTE forms. Can’t find something that fits your needs? Then fill the BUILD YOUR OWN TRIP or CONTACT US form and click SUBMIT.
Then sit back! One of our travel experts will get back to you shortly with our customized package and most favorable offer!
In a hurry? Don’t like filling forms? Then call +84 982 116 630 (Mr. Lam) or +84 983 145 799 (Mr. Quyen). We’re available 24/7 and would be more than happy to talk! Certainly, your request will be carefully noted and a nicely crafted package with a pleasant price will follow!
Step 2: Reviewing/ Customizing our offer!
It’s your holiday so everything should be exactly what you want! We encourage your careful review of what we offer, letting us know what changes you would like to make. We’ll be more than happy to fine-tune the tour to fit best your interests, budget and time! This step may require several emails/call exchanges until perfect!
Step 3: Confirming/Paying/ Packing for the trip!
Once you’re satisfied with the customized tour, please let us know and Indochina Pioneer will need a few working hours to place reservations for all of the tour services. As soon as the availability and reservations of the services are confirmed, we will request a deposit. Please refer our Payment Guide for more details.
Once your deposit is received by Indochina Pioneer, we will send you the service voucher which confirms all the services of the tour and provides ground contact details and a guide for the final payment schedule.
And then you start counting down the day for your most fabulous trip!
Booking Amendment & Cancellations:
Booking Amendment: Flexibility is our strongest point. You can amend your booking even after it is made. Just contact your salesperson or contact us at email@example.com with your booking number. Our reservations team is glad to amend your booking with your preferable alternatives. Please kindly note that you will be responsible for any change of the final price caused by your amendment requests.
Travel smart with Indochina Pioneer!
Packing and Luggage Allowance
Packing Checklist – Be sure to check them all 😉
- Travel documents (passport, visas, travel insurance certificate, air tickets, tour voucher)
- Money (cash, credit card, debit card, traveler’s cheques and money pouch)
- Day pack for your personal needs during the day
- Camera and extra memory cards and batteries
- Cell phone and cell phone charger
- Laptop charger (if you are bringing your laptop)
- Travel plug/international adapter
- Medication (including a doctor’s letter if you are carrying a large amount of medication)
- Prescription glasses / contacts and if necessary, contact lens solution
Best to bring along
- First aid kit
- Insect repellent
- Refillable water bottle with filter
- Comfortable walking shoes
- Comfortable clothing, either light or heavy options, depending on the season you are travelling
- Clothes suitable for visiting temples (long pants / skirts, long sleeved tops)
- Waterproof jacket / raincoat / umbrella
- Hat & sunglasses
- Bathing suit
- Ear plugs & eye mask
- Sleep sheet for home stays / trains
- Lightweight travel towel
- Local language phrasebook
We are committed to giving our customers unforgettable experiences in Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia and beyond, not just something staged for tourists. Read reviews written by our customers about their experiences in Indochina after they have returned home. These include the ratings and comments on attractions, guides, activities, hotels and food.
goodtravelfort lee, nj
"Fantastic 17 days in Vietnam and Cambodia"
The best thing about Duong Dai Lam (Lam) from Indochina Pioneer is that he listens. We are interested in history, architecture and food, and really appreciate good views.
Our trip provided these things and more:
– In every city we had gorgeous hotels with fabulous views, with a number of upgrades. Hotels appreciated Indochina Pioneer business.
– Halong Bay cruise was one of the highlights – small, comfortable boat with great food and most incredible landscapes. How did they get such a good chef for a 10 cabin boat?
– Lam suggested many off the beaten track attractions that helped us to understand and appreciate the country.
– Our tour guides in every place were knowledgeable about history and architecture, forthcoming with cultural and lifestyle information
– They were very flexible both in planning, and trip changes when the weather did not cooperate. For example – we don’t ride bicycles, so we ended up doing one day tour on the back of 2 scooters. Fun!!!
– Street food tour with Luu in Hanoi was fun, delicious and educational. We kept eating on the street throughout the trip. No food poisoning, just delicious food.
– Private cars were medium size SUVs immaculately maintained and drivers were safe.
I infrequently gush – see my other reviews. But this was one of our best trips, and the private tour ended up costing less than a comparable group tour booked from US.
It was great to have a relaxing vacation and indochina took
Care of everything. Loved Hanoi and Halong Bay!
"First trip to Vietnam"
As this was our first trip to Vietnam we decided to us Indochina Pioneer-and Mr Lam provided us with a 17 day itinerary. Thank you for arranging a most relaxing holiday, and we enjoyed every minute with our guides, Mr Dong (Hanoi), Mr Thoung and driver Mr Hai (Hoi An-Hue) Mrs Yen from Ho Chi Minh City and Mr Tom from the Dragon Peal No 1. Their warmth, friendliness and good humour has made our trip most memorable. The guides all did an excellent job with their knowledge on places visited as well as the history of Vietnam. Our visit to Halong Bay was unfortunately very cold, but was still made enjoyable, and guests still participated in canoeing and visiting the floating fishing village. Although there were many highlights with the sounds, smells and overall busy day to day life especially in the markets, my favourite highlight was in Ho Chi Minh City with a park becoming one enormous flower market and the boats on the river covered in flowers ready to sell, all for the Tet festival. We wished we stayed a few extra nights to enjoy the Tet festivities. Yes I would definitely recommend Indochina Pioneer to anyone wishing to travel to Vietnam, and will use this company again.
keith mUnited Kingdom
"Cycling Mekong Delta and sight seeing in Saigon"
Perhaps the best way to explore the Mekong Delta area. Can Tho is a lively overnight stop with well situated lovely hotel. All hotels selected by Indo China Pioneer are well situated but don’t expect western standards in hotels beyond Can Tho. Good combination of cycling and site seeing including boat and ferry trips, workshop visits with good choice of restaurant and roadside stops for fresh fruit.
However the route rarely left normal roads and didn’t appear to be as described in the brochure. Some quiet rural roads followed but others were quite busy, particularly in the vicinity of the small towns we cycled through.
We were concerned that we were not measured for our bikes on the first day which just arrived in the back of the minibus that collected us from our hotel. The frame size for my partner’s bike was much too large for her and it was fitted with a male shaped saddle which caused her considerable discomfort on the first day. The saddle was changed on Day 2 after she refused to continue the holiday with that particular bike at the end of day 1.
The guide did not appear to be completely clear of the route at times and we needed to complete an ‘about turn’ 3 times during the trek which may be why our route didn’t appear to be as described in the brochure. Indo China guides are very knowledgeable and helpful and know many local secret gems to visit but their spoken english can be difficult to follow at times even for me as a native English speaker. Indo China Pioneer specialise in providing tailor made tours for small groups down to 2 in number and flexibility in preparing a holiday programe to suit individual customers requests including the selection of the most suitable hotel using their wealth of local knowledge. Moderately priced boutique hotels are typically chosen.
"2nd Time….just as great"
This is the second time I have used Indochina Pioneer. They excelled again. This time, we had 5 Rotarians who had completed a project in Cambodia, and needed some holiday time afterwards. We booked an 8 night Hanoi/Sapa/Halong Bay tour.
Again, the Indochina Pioneer Team performed beyond my expectations. On time, knowledgeable and flexible at all times.
We had a small problem with our van after the 5 hour drive to Sapa. By breakfast the next day, we had a new van and driver to look after us for the rest of our journey.
We got a great upgrade on the Halong Bay cruise.
I can’t commend Indochina Pioneer highly enough. If you want further details, please PM me directly, if I go again in Indochina, it will only be with Indochina Pioneer.
"Indochina Pioneer – Great Tour Organizer"
I arranged a 28 day customized tour of Vietnam, Cambodia, Myanmar and Thailand in January, 2016 the assistance of Indochina Pioneer. Lam, the principal of the company, was fabulous to deal with. He made many suggestions, booked all of our drivers and local tour guides, hotels, admission tickets, and even some restaurants. All of his choices were excellent, and when there was a need to make a last minute change, he was readily available. His tour included many extras that other tour organizers did not include, and he made sure that we visited off the beaten track places, took local tours that the big groups do not see, and that our hotels were carefully chosen to be very central and more of a local boutique nature. Lam never hesitated to make sure that our trip was going well as we travelled, and even made a point of meeting us at our stop in Hanoi and sent flowers to me on my birthday. The tour was priced very favorably compared to 3 others I contacted, and all of our guides were excellent. I would highly recommend this company and Lam in particular to anyone wanting to arrange a local tour or a detailed itinerary of Indochina.
"An amazing trip"
In my younger years I spent months backpacking on the cheap around Asia. I now have more money, less time and a family. I found Indochina Pioneer on-line and contacted Mr Lam for our recent trip to Cambodia. He was full of information, answered all of my many questions, suggested great ideas, incorporated my changes and organised all smoothly.
I wanted airport transfers and to organise hotels before we left. Mr Lam suggested a range of hotels to choose from all of which were good. Internal transfers and flights were also organised. We only wanted tours for Angkor Wat and The Killing Fields which Mr Lam arranged. Our other days were left free for us to choose what we wanted. The tour consisted of myself, my husband and twin sons which was perfect. The tour guides were knowledgeable and helpful, as were the drivers.
Mr Lam suggested we get a speed boat from Chau Doc, Vietnam to Phnom Penh up the Mekong River which was a great way to travel. The crocodile farm on the way was well worth the lunch stop.
I would recommend Indochina Pioneer as a great tour company for families. My in-laws are travelling with them later in the year. I am currently planning another trip to Laos using Indochina Pioneer again.
For someone who doesn’t like or do package tours having a private tour for my family was just perfect.
Roger CAustralia, Adelaide
"Excellent 20 day tour of Myanmar with Indochina Pioneer"
This was our first trip to Myanmar . We have traveled to Vietnam, Cambodia and Laos with Lam Duong from Indochina Pioneer in the past and having had such a great trip chose Lam to organise our Myanmar trip.
Lam chose and booked great hotels in Yangon, Kyaing Tong, Kalaw, Inle Lake , Bagan and Mandalay as well as organise excellent tour guides and drivers at those places. We wanted to do a short cruise on the Irrawaddy from Bagan to Mandalay and Lam selected Amara River Cruises which operate small extremely well founded wooden vessels. Our boat Amara 1 was excellent, comfortable and with friendly attentive staff who took us on excursions and provided us with superb food and service.
We also did a memorable balloon flight in Bagan with Balloons over Bagan which Lam organised.
Our tour organised by Lam in Myanmar was superb, we could not fault the guides and the overall balance of the itinerary.
Full marks Indochina Pioneer!
"12 days in Myanmar"
Kata Tran has organised many holidays for me – in Laos, Cambodia and Vietnam. All excellent. She organised a 12 day trip to Myanmar in January 2016 with a few days each in Yangon, Bagan, Mandalay and Inle. Great guides and drivers. Lovely hotels. Terrific boat trip from Mandalay to Bagan. Day trip to old colonial Maymyo. Highly recommended. Kata always listens carefully to what you want and is very flexible.
"Fantastic trip amazing service"
Fantastic trip from start to finish. All our expectations were met and exceeded from the moment we booked the trip with Mr Lam to our last day.
We had one minor problem during our stay and it was sorted immediately with profession
And made our trip the most memorable holiday ever.
Mr Lam customised our trip to suit us and we loved all of our guides and drivers.
We were even lucky enough to be invited to the companies end of year party and got to meet everyone who made our holiday so special. I can’t recommend this company enough and that’s something coming from someone in the tourist industry. Well done indoctrination pioneer.