- Day 1: Arrival Mandalay
- Day 2: Mandalay – Mingun – Sagaing at Sunset
- Day 3: Mandalay – Monywa – Boditahaung, hanboddhay & Shweguni Pagoda
- Day 4: Monywa – Po Win Taung – Shwe Ba Hill
- Day 5: Monywa – Pakokku – Ayeyarwady River Cruise – Bagan
- Day 6: Bagan Temple Tour
- Day 7: Bagan – Discovery local Villages
- Day 8: Bagan – Flight to Heho – Train to Kalaw
- Day 9: Kalaw – Htee Tein Trek – Overnight in monastery
- Day 10: Htee Tein – Trek to Than Daung – Inle Lake
- Day 11: Inle Lake – In Dein & Ywama
- Day 12: Inle Lake – Flight to Yangon – Kyaikhtiyo (Golden Rock)
- Day 13: Kyaikhtiyo (Golden Rock) – Kinpun – Hpa An – Kyauk Kalap Pagoda
- Day 14: Hpa An – Mount Zwekabin Trek – Saddan Cave
- Day 15: Hpa An – Kawgun Cave – Yangon
- Day 16: Train Ride – Sule Pagoda – Colonial Walking Tour – Shwedagon Pagoda
- Day 17: Departure Yangon
- 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 MandalayDay 1
Upon your arrival in Mandalay, get welcomed by your tour guide and driver, and transferred in a private vehicle to your hotel for check-in.
Overnight in Mandalay
Mandalay – Mingun – Sagaing at SunsetDay 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 – Monywa – Boditahaung, hanboddhay & Shweguni PagodaDay 3
Depart Mandalay you drive to Monywa (140 km – 4 hours). Yon arrival you will visit Thanboddhay Pagoda. Inside you will see thousands of Buddha images (reportedly over 500,000) decorating every wall, archway and niche. The buildings in the compound have interesting jataka reliefs.
Continue to visit the Bodhi Tataung Laykyun Sekkya standing Buddha statue. At 116 metres, it is the second tallest statue in the world (and second tallest Buddha). It is located at the back of a large religious site with Bodhi trees, gardens containing hundreds of sitting Buddhas, and a huge reclining Buddha lying in front of the Laykyun Sekkya.
Overnight in Monywa
Monywa – Po Win Taung – Shwe Ba HillDay 4
Rise early to take the ferry to the other side of the Chindwin River where you board a pick-up to see the seldom visited 15th Pho Win Daung temple complex where more than 450,000 sandstone Buddhas were carved in the hillsides in caves, alcoves, or tiny niches. The cave murals are still intact with indigo blues and soft pastels. Then, visit Shwe Ba Daung, which features unique pavilions cut from the surrounding sandstone and filled with Buddha’s images.
Overnight in Monywa
Monywa – Pakokku – Ayeyarwady River Cruise – BaganDay 5
After breakfast, drive (approx. 4 hrs) to Pakokku to experience a genuine indigenous regional open-air market. Then take a private local boat across the Ayeyarwaddy River to Bagan (approx. 3 hrs by boat). Arrival Bagan and transfer to hotel. The rest of the day is at your leisure.
Overnight in Bagan
Bagan Temple TourDay 6
Begin your exploration by visiting a busy local market and gaining an insight into Bagan’s bustling market atmosphere. You will spend the day exploring the architectural masterpieces of this amazing town by visiting a diverse selection of the most important pagodas and temples.
Climb to the top of the Temple for sunset views. Sit back relax and be amazed by the beauty of Bagan as you watch the sun slowly set behind the ancient pagodas.
Overnight in Bagan
Bagan – Discovery local VillagesDay 7
More than just temples, our tour introduces you to Bagan’s history, culture and local lifestyles. Today, observe the authentic village lifestyle lived by most people in Myanmar by visiting villages near Bagan. Then, get to know Bagan from a different perspective as you explore the area by pony cart. The cart can explore areas that cars are unable to enter giving a unique perspective of Bagan.
Transfer to the jetty where a private wooden river boat is waiting. Sitting under the shade or on the open-deck you’ll be treated to fabulous views as you cruise down the Irrawaddy River to Shwezigon Pagoda. Enjoy a spectacular sunset on a private boat tour on the river during sunset time will hopefully show you a spectacular sunset. Relax and enjoy the scenery.
Overnight in Bagan
Bagan – Flight to Heho – Train to KalawDay 8
Morning flight to Heho. Then, drive to Kalaw or take a train to Kalaw (train departs at 9:20 am). Arrive in Kalaw and transfer to your hotel for check-in. Enjoy your free day at leisure.
Overnight in Kalaw
Kalaw – Htee Tein Trek – Overnight in monasteryDay 9
Get an early start on your two day trekking trip. The road and trail go through beautiful scenery. On the way, visit the villages of Palaung, Danu, Pao and Taung Yoe. Your local station tour guide will introduce you to the villagers and will show you the traditional ways of life.
After lunch you visit Hinkhagone, a Palaung village. The path goes up and down and along the way, you will see plantations for tea leaves, coffee, cordial leaves, mustard, ginger, malt rice, cabbage, cauliflower and sesame. Late afternoon you will arrive in Teetain, a typical Pao village. We will see a lot of native plants along this way especially Ginger. Dinner and overnight in the village.
Overnight in Monastery
Htee Tein – Trek to Than Daung – Inle LakeDay 10
After breakfast continue the 5 hour trekking trip to the shore of Inle lake. The trail goes through beautiful scenery of bamboo forest. The native people of Pao, Taung Yoe and Intha along the way grow their fruits; banana, papaya, potato and beans. Lunch at lower Thandaung village.
Following lunch you transfer by boat to your hotel in Inle Lake. Rest of the day free at your own leisure.
Overnight in Inle Lake
Inle Lake – In Dein & YwamaDay 11
Enjoy a full day tour by boat in Inle lake. The five Buddha images of Phaung Daw U Pagoda are the holiest in Inle Lake. Next, visit a unique monastery on Lake Nga Phe Kyaung, near Ywama village where the local monks have trained the cats to jump through hoops. It is now affectionately known as the jumping cat Monastery. Then, 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 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 Inle Lake
Inle Lake – Flight to Yangon – Kyaikhtiyo (Golden Rock)Day 12
Morning flight back to Yangon. Then, leave Yangon and enjoy a scenic journey by road to Golden Rock (Drive via Bago: 194 km – 5 hours).
On the way, stop to visit the Allied War Memorial Cemetery at Htaukkyant. Then, arrive at Golden Rock base camp and take an open truck to the ‘upper area’ about 1 hour. Once at the pagoda, you can enjoy a spectacular view, which is particularly beautiful at sunrise or sunset. The whole site has a magical feeling.
Overnight in Golden Rock
Kyaikhtiyo (Golden Rock) – Kinpun – Hpa An – Kyauk Kalap PagodaDay 13
Depart Kyaikhtiyoe, in the early morning when the sun is still rising, stroll around the hill sites and return to hotel for breakfast. Then back to base camp by the truck. Arrive at base camp, and start with a scenic drive to Hpa An, visiting several fascinating sites along the way. Just outside of the city, guests will stop at Kha Yon Cave, a beautiful natural cave where locals come to worship and pray for good health and prosperity. In addition to the many Buddha statues, the cave also contains many beautiful stalagmites and stalactites which have formed over the centuries.
The next stop will be Kadoe Kawnat village, where guests will visit Kawnat Monastery. This magnificent monastery with its beautiful woodcarving was built a century ago by a villager named U Nar Ouat, who was famed for his wealth and generosity. It was because of his donation that this religious site was built nearby his village. Upon arrival at Hpa An, you will first visit Kyauk Kalat, a pagoda which is built on layers of natural rock formations. Flanked by a lake, the scenery guarantees a great photo opportunity.
Finish the tour transfer to the hotel for check-in.
Overnight in Hpa An
Hpa An – Mount Zwekabin Trek – Saddan CaveDay 14
This morning, you will proceed to the foot hill of the 722-meter-high Mt. Zwe Kabin. This sacred mountain has several thousand identical Buddha statues lined up at its base. Then, you will visit Saddan Cave.
Overnight in Hpa An
Hpa An – Kawgun Cave – YangonDay 15
After breakfast, you will visit to Kawgun Cave, also known as the “Cave of the Ten Thousand Buddhas”. When walking through the cave, you will see more than 2,000 votive tablets of Lord Buddha and Mon inscriptions. One inscription is so ancient that, to this day, no scholar has been able to interpret it. Then, drive back to Yangon.
Overnight in Yangon
Train Ride – Sule Pagoda – Colonial Walking Tour – Shwedagon PagodaDay 16
After breakfast, drive to train station for the train ride for about 1 hour. Enjoy the authentic lifestyle of locals and take in the beautiful scenery. 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.
Stop for a photo 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
Departure YangonDay 17
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.
- 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
- 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 firstname.lastname@example.org 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.
"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.
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.
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.
"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.
It was great to have a relaxing vacation and indochina took
Care of everything. Loved Hanoi and Halong Bay!