- Classic Journeys
- Culture & Heritage
- Day 1: Arrival in Yangon
- Day 2: Yangon – Mandalay Ancient Capital
- Day 3: Mandalay – Embark On River Cruise
- Day 4: Cruise To Yandabo
- Day 5: Disembark In Bagan – Temple Plain
- Day 6: Bagan Local Life
- Day 7: Bagan – Fly To Heho – Kalaw Sightseeing
- Day 8: Kalaw Elephant Camp
- Day 9: Kalaw – Inle Lake Sightseeing
- Day 10: Inle Cooking Class – Indein
- Day 11: Heho – Fly Back To Yangon – Kyaikhitiyo
- Day 12: Kyaikhitiyo – Bago – Yangon
- Day 13: Yangon City Tour
- Day 14: Departure Yangon
Arrival in YangonDay 1
Mingalabar! Welcome to Yangon, Myanmar.
Upon arrival at Yangon Airport, your private guide and driver are waiting to meet you, holding up a welcome signboard with your names on it and take you directly to your hotel in the downtown. While every effort is made to have your room available upon arrival, check-in time is at 02:00 pm; your room may or may not be ready before this time. Your tour guide will provide additional details regarding your stay, and you will be able to ask any questions you may have. The rest of the day is at leisure.
If we arrive in the morning, we have time to visit the world-famous golden Shwedagon Pagoda in the afternoon, a breath-taking and colorful sight visited by Buddhists from all over Myanmar.
Evening culture show with dinner at Karaweik palace in Kandawgyi Park
Overnight in Yangon.
Yangon – Mandalay Ancient CapitalDay 2
Early morning transfer to Yangon’s Mingaladon Airport for the flight to Mandalay.
Upon arrival, our tour guide and private car pick up from the airport for a full day sightseeing. The day begins with a visit to the 18th-century capital, Amarapura. Attend the daily meal of over a thousand monks at the country’s largest monastery Mahagandayon. Visit a silk weaving workshop, the craft specialty of Amarapura.
Proceed to Ava, the capital from 14th to 18th centuries and visit by horse and carriage the old wooden Bagaya Monastery and the remains of the Royal Palace and fort.
In the afternoon visit the Kuthodaw Pagoda with its 729 marble stone slabs of Buddhist scriptures (known as the world’s biggest book), Shwenandaw Monastery, noted for its exquisite woodcarving and the impressive Kyauktawgyi Pagoda with it’s huge sitting Buddha.
Enjoy the sunset from Mandalay Hill.
Overnight in Mandalay.
Mandalay – Embark On River CruiseDay 3
After breakfast, transfer to the jetty for an overnight cruise tour in Irrawaddy River. The embarkation time is 12.00 noon at Gawein jetty and cast off after half an hour’s time.
Welcome Cocktail and briefing in the Saloon or Sundeck followed by Lunch. After cruising upstream for two hours we arrive at the Mingun Pagoda Complex. Our English speaking manager (or your private guide) will accompany the guests during the visit.
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 cruise
Cruise To YandaboDay 4
Early in the morning cruise downstream. During the two hours journey, the passengers can admire the natural beauty of the river and the life of its banks while relaxing on the sundeck or just sitting outside their own cabin. Enjoy the sunrise over Sagaing Hill.
After breakfast passengers wishing to visit Sagaing can go ashore with the assistance of our Ship Manager or their own guide. We resume our downriver voyage at 10.30 hrs and we will sail all day long.
In the late afternoon, we stop at Yandabo, a village specializing in Pot-Making, where the peace treaty of the First Anglo-Burmese war was signed on Feb. 24, 1826. We visit the Pot workshops and the monastery. Moor overnight near the village of Shwe Nann Tint.
Overnight on cruise
Disembark In Bagan – Temple PlainDay 5
Cast off early in the morning for the last leg of our journey. Enjoy the sunrise near Bagan. Passengers will disembark at Thar Yar Waddy Jetty around 9:30 hrs.
Our private car and tour guide pick up from jetty and start a full day sightseeing of Bagan features the colorful Nyaung Oo Market, the Shwezigon Pagoda, and its magnificent golden stupa, Wetkyi-In Gubyaukgyi, a cave temple with exquisite jatakas murals paintings and the elegant Htilominlo Temple noted for its fine plaster carvings and glazed sandstone decorations.
In the afternoon, visit Ananda, an architectural masterpiece of the early-style temple with two original standing Buddha images whose facial expression change depending on the distance the statue is viewed from. The Ananda Okkyaung is one of the few surviving brick monasteries from the early Bagan period and the next temple to be visited, Thatbyinnyu, is the highest in Bagan, rising to 61 meters.
End the day with a horse and carriage tour among the temples passing by the traditional village of Taungbi, Sulamani Temple, and the massive Dhammayangyi Temple noted for its remarkable brickwork.
Enjoy the sunset on the mighty Irrawaddy river by slow cruise.
Overnight in Bagan.
Bagan Local LifeDay 6
Optional: In the early morning, we take a sunrise balloon flight over the plains of Bagan. From above looking down, Bagan is beautiful as a watercolor picture. Along two banks of the gentle Ayeyarwady River are small villages hiding in the bamboo trees. The top of golden pagodas glistens under the sunlight. The flight surely gives you an interesting and unheard-of experience of the country of Myanmar.
After breakfast at the hotel, proceed to Myinkaba village and observe the process of traditional lacquerware, one of the best-known Myanmar handicrafts and a specialty of Bagan. Visit the monuments of Myinkaba village, Gubyaukkhi, an early period Pyu-style temple of Hindu influence with some of the oldest mural paintings in Bagan, Manuha, and Nanpaya temples.
In the afternoon, enjoy an excursion to the countryside village Shwe Hlaing and enjoy the local cooking school restaurant before the visit of Minnanthu, and the least visited temple area in Bagan. Observe the local farmers‘way of life together with a visit to some of the most interesting temples such as Payathonzu, with its unusual architecture and Tantric Buddhism influence, Lemyethna, and Nandamannya temples.
Enjoy the sunset from the top watching sunset area.
Overnight in Bagan.
Bagan – Fly To Heho – Kalaw SightseeingDay 7
Transfer to the airport for domestic flight to Heho in Shan State.
On arrival, get a pick up to Kalaw, the hill station that remains the charm of British Colonial with styled houses and gardens. Our tour guide will show you the uniqueness of this town and surely you will like the weather here.
Overnight in Kalaw.
Kalaw Elephant CampDay 8
After breakfast, take a 1-hour drive to Green Hill Valley Elephant Camp in Kalaw, we start a day to visit elephant in Magwe Village and walk to the camp
Take a light refreshment. Walk to the river to the Elephant bath. We can join in feeding and bathing the elephants.
Exploration of the forest area, opportunity to see butterflies, birds, and orchids in the area.
Lunch in the main camp. After lunch, we can explore the surrounding area with a local trekking guide
We are also welcome to join them in planting indigenous trees from their nursery in our forest recovery efforts
Back to Elephant camp and drive back to Kalaw, the hill station that remains the charm of British Colonial with styled houses and gardens. Upon arrival, our tour guide will show us the uniqueness of this town and surely you will like the weather here.
Overnight in Kalaw.
Kalaw – Inle Lake SightseeingDay 9
After breakfast, take around 1h30m drive down into the valley to Nyaung Shwe on the edge of Inle Lake.
During today’s excursion by boat on picturesque Inle Lake we see the famous leg rowers, the typical floating gardens where fruit and vegetables are grown, local methods of fishing, and village life. A highlight is often visiting the traditional village of Paukpar, with its neat rows of bamboo houses and where we may be able to stop and visit a family for Shan tea.
In the afternoon, we visit Phaung Daw Oo Pagoda, the holiest religious site in southern Shan State and the boat construction workshop at Nampan village as well as stopping to see some traditional handicrafts – silk weaving on wooden handlooms in Inpawkon village, a cheroot workshop and a blacksmith shop. Continue by boat to visit Nga Phe Kyaung Monastery (Jumping cats), one of the oldest monasteries on the lake and where inside its large wooden meditation hall and are over 200-year-old ancient Buddha statues. Returning back to the hotel the beauty of the sunset over Inle Lake enchants all visitors.
Overnight in Inle Lake/ Nyaung Shwe.
Inle Cooking Class – IndeinDay 10
After breakfast, our tour guide picks you up from the hotel and takes a boat to cooking class.
Our cooking classes take us through the experiences of sourcing Inle ingredients, some exclusive to the lake, at the local market. Then we will be learning to prepare real traditional dishes exclusive to the region either in our cooking classrooms or out as a guest in the real kitchen in the local community.
Upon arrival, guests will receive welcome drinks (Shan tea, fresh juices). They will then show the guests the cooking area. Next, the chef of the Inthar Heritage House will present us with the menu, give details about the class, ingredients, and cooking methods. After this introduction, they will show us their vegetable gardens and pick the ingredients for the meal. Back in the kitchen, we will clean the vegetables and start cooking, with step-by-step teaching of their chef. As soon as dessert is ready, we can sit down and enjoy the meal.
The Inthar Heritage restaurant is part of the Inle Heritage Foundation, which promotes the heritage of Inle cultures and supports the sustainable development of the Inle region. During the guided visit we will show you conservation and preservation activities (Burmese Cats, Species aquarium), the Vocational Training Center (environment-friendly agriculture).
Guided visit hours (start at): 01:30 pm, the visit takes approximately 1 hour.
Continue our excursion by motorized boat to Indein pagoda complex, in the south-west of the lake. The boat leaves the lake and enters a narrow canal with a beautiful natural environment to continue to a small Pa O tribe village. From the village, follow an old covered path to a 13th-century monastery and the very impressive ruins of hundreds of ancient pagodas, some hidden in the vegetation. The main stupa-area on the top of the hill offers breathtaking views over the surrounding mountains and down to the valley and the lake in the far distance.
Overnight in Inle Lake/ Nyaung Shwe.
Heho – Fly Back To Yangon – KyaikhitiyoDay 11
After breakfast, transfer from Nyaung Shwe to Heho airport for a morning flight back to Yangon.
Upon arrival Yangon, enjoy a scenic journey by road to Kyaikhtiyo, 190km to the east. One of Myanmar’s great pilgrimage sites is the Golden Rock at Kyaikhtiyo, a huge boulder covered by gold leaf and delicately balanced on the edge of a cliff. The pagoda at the Golden Rock is said to hold a hair of the Buddha.
Late morning, arrive at Kyaikhtiyo base camp and transfer to the transit junction with one of the small open trucks in a 1-hour ride.
After lunch, start an easy one-hour walk up to the Golden Rock and enjoy the sunset from this unforgettable site.
Overnight in Kyaikhtiyo.
Kyaikhitiyo – Bago – YangonDay 12
After breakfast, return to the base-camp by open truck and head in the direction of Yangon for 110km to Bago, an ancient capital dating back to the 6th century.
Sightseeing in Bago includes the beautiful 55 meters long reclining Buddha called Shwethalyaung and the Mon style Shwemawdaw Pagoda, one of the most venerated in Myanmar. Its spire stands 114m high and is taller even than the Shwedagon Pagoda. Visit also the old Palace “Kambozathadi” and the huge 4 sitting Buddha’s “Kyaikpun”.
Return by road to Yangon, visiting the Allied War Cemetery near Htaukkyan, the final resting place for over 27,000 allied soldiers, and a local woven bamboo factory.
Transfer back to Yangon at the end of the day.
Overnight in Yangon.
Yangon City TourDay 13
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 a private tour and drive through downtown to explore the city center 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.
After that, discover Kabaaye Pagoda or mostly known as “World Peace Pagoda “and “The Great Cave” – Maha Pasana in the ground. Take a look at Gems Museum where displays famous precious stones of Myanmar. Visit Chauk Htat Gyi Pagoda, famous for an impressive reclining Chauk Htat Gyi Buddha Image
Come back to the downtown for a lunch at Shwe Sa Bwe restaurant, a social enterprise that trains and employs underprivileged youth to provide a step up in life.
After lunch, our car takes us to the National Museum. After that, take a rickshaw tour around the colonial area with the historical buildings that will start, breaking at a local teashop to enjoy Burmese tea and the typical atmosphere.
Continue by rickshaw along the famous Strand Road and visit the bustling Yangon harbor.
Overnight in Yangon.
Departure YangonDay 14
After breakfast, a fleet of microbuses and guides will be available outside the hotel for guests who would like to do some last-minute shopping or complete their cultural visit of Yangon exploring colonial downtown.
Then take the drive to Mingaladon International Airport to check in on your onward flight.
End of services.
Inquire this trip
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 suit 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 [email protected] 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
Reviews on Our Service
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.
We had a wonderful 7-day trip last July; Kata was awesome to work with. So professional, reliable and helpful!
"Lifetime of Memories"
Lam did an amazing job putting together an itinerary based on phone/text conversations. We told him the where and what and he did the rest. The accommodations were beyond expectation, the guides were unbelievably friendly, and the places we were taken were spectacular. Having guides and drivers is worth every penny. So much time and money would have been wasted had we tried to accomplish this ourselves.
We got to experience so much more because of our guides local knowledge. Lastly, how great it was not to worry about how we were getting to the next adventure. Had we not used Indochina Pioneer I truly believe I wouldn’t have as many astonishing memories.
"Amazing 30 Day Journey with Indochina Pioneer"
If you are looking for a private tour of SE Asia, look no further than Indochina Pioneer. I recently returned from a 30-day private tour of Vietnam, Cambodia and Thailand all arranged by Indochina Pioneer and could not have been happier with everything they arranged for me. They are top-notch from working directly with you on planning your trip, arranging visas, having individuals at the airports to meet and walk you through everything when entering the countries, having amazing tour guides and drivers as well as organizing everything for you on the ground and being there to help you all along the way if you have any questions or problems. My tour was amazing with not only the normal tourist sights, but many off the beaten track sights and with your own guides, you learn so much more from these individuals who actually live in the places you will visit. I can’t recommend this tour agency enough. If you are looking to travel to any of the locations Indochina Pioneer has tours, you must book through them, you will not be disappointed.
"Excellent from the very beginning"
We had 21 days on a private tour and every detail was perfectly arranged. Perhaps, the Spanish speaking skills of guides can ve improved, but overall they were very helpful and committed with their job. I want to highlight the performance of Juan (Hanoi), Miguel (Hoi An), Chao (Ho Chi Minh City) and La (Luang Prabang, Laos).
Hotels were as we asked and the timing for the visits was very good.
I recommend this travel agency!