Discover Burma (Myanmar)
Our 2-week classic Burma tour takes in the spectacular architecture of bustling Rangoon; the sights of Mandalay, temples of Bagan, stunning Lake Inle and much, much more...
"Quite unlike any land you know about..." (Kipling)
“Quite unlike any land you know about…” is how Rudyard Kipling described the country and as our classic, Discover Burma (Myanmar) tour, will show you the, same is probably very true today.
Discover the famous sites, including breathtaking Shwedagon Pagoda as well as the lesser-seen backstreets and bustling local markets amid the atmospheric, crumbling, Victorian splendour of Rangoon. (Now Yangon, the city is acknowledged to possess the best stock of British colonial architecture in Asia). We’ll visit evocative Mandalay, take a boat down the Irrawaddy River to explore some of the 2,000 ancient temples of Bagan, discover old hill-stations barely changed in a hundred years, take a 2-day boat tour around awe-inspiring Lake Inle and meet some of the myriad traditional hill-tribes of the picturesque Shan Plateau.
On our Burma (Myanmar) tour we’ll explore this amazing country by local train, stagecoach, horse and cart and Irrawaddy boat as well as by bus and on foot, with the emphasis, as usual, on combining both famous sites and lesser known ones to allow you to discover the real local culture, history, authentic food, bustling markets and stunning landscapes.
This highly varied and truly fabulous country makes for an unforgettable trip – Southeast Asia as it used to be!
Our classic Burma tour explores the sites of the country’s central region while for those with a few more days to spare we offer extensions to Kengtung and the farthest reaches of Shan State to meet some of Southeast Asia’s least-known and most traditional hill-tribe minorities or the opportunity to join the pilgrims at the surreal Golden Rock – one of the country’s most sacred sites. For some quality beach time after your tour, we also propose stays at either celebrated Ngapali or the spectacular but lesser-known Ngwe Saung in the Irrawaddy Delta.
Here's an idea of what you can expect to do and see day-to-day.
Day 1 - Yangon (Rangoon) - walking tour and sunset cruise
Morning check-in to a comfortable, downtown hotel close to the famous Scott Market. Time to relax before a walking, orientation tour of the city followed – weather permitting – by a scenic sunset boat cruise on the Rangoon River.
Airport transfers are included if you purchase the 'with flights' package.
Overnight: Yangon Transport: Boat, Walk, Meals: L, D,
Day 2 - Yangon (Rangoon) - local train and Shwedagon
Departure for a fascinating and unusual train journey on the Rangoon circular line. The (very) slow, local train loops through the suburbs and outlying villages providing an original and behind the scenes view of local life; a great introduction to Burma. After lunch we’ll take a stroll through the picturesque Kandawgyi Lake Gardens before a sunset visit to the incredible Shwedagon Temple, Burma’s most sacred & certainly one it’s most awe-inspiring sites.
Overnight: Yangon Transport: Minibus, Train, Meals: B, L, D,
Day 3 - Mandalay - ancient cities
Early morning flight to Mandalay and a visit to the nearby ancient city and former 14th- to 19th-century capital Ava (Inwa). Discover the ruined city, temples and villages by horse and cart before an afternoon visit to the prestigious Mahamuni Paya and sunset at the iconic U Bein Bridge – reputed to be the longest teak bridge in the world.
Overnight: Mandalay Transport: Minibus, Plane, Meals: B, L, D,
Day 4 - Pyin U Lwin - hill station tour
Scenic drive to the old British hill station of Pyin U Lwin located on the edge of the Shan Plateau. The small town’s 1,200m altitude meant it was a popular and cool retreat for the former British colonists and many historic buildings remain as well as its famous botanical gardens. We’ll time our return journey for sunset over the Irrawaddy River.
Overnight: Mandalay Transport: Minibus, Walk, Meals: B, L,
Day 5 - Mandalay to Bagan - Irrawaddy Cruise
Departure by boat down the Irrawaddy to Bagan; bucolic country views, river scenes and a great way to arrive in the historic ancient city. Late afternoon orientation visit and sunset at the site of the 11th to 13th-century capital – still housing over 2,000 chedis, stupas, pagodas and certainly one of the most incredible sites of Southeast Asia!*
During dry season low water levels may prevent boat travel all the way to Bagan in which case we travel overland with a stop at Monywa instead.
Overnight: Bagan Transport: Boat, Meals: B, D,
Day 6 - Bagan - temple tour
Morning guided tour with the afternoon free to visit Bagan at your leisure. Armed with a map, hat and torch (to discover temples’ hidden stairways), roam the country lanes by bicycle, hire a pony and trap, visit the best-known temples or find some hidden chedis of your own. Your guide will be on hand to advise and recommend but we’d like to let you spend some time at this phenomenal site at your own leisure and pace.
Overnight: Bagan Transport: Minibus, Walk, Meals: B,
Day 7 - Bagan to Shan State - overland via Mt Popa
Departure by road to the distant Shan Plateau. Our first stop will be Mount Popa; – one of the country’s most sacred sites located on the cone of an extinct volcano which rises dramatically and near vertically from the plains below. Local style lunch before a scenic climb up the Plateau itself to our destination, the charming little old hill-station of Kalaw.
Overnight: Kalaw Transport: Minibus, Meals: B, L, D,
Day 8 - Kalaw - hill walk and tea plantations
Morning hike through the surrounding hills to visit one of the local Palaung hill-tribe villages; a scenic walk, mountain views, visit the village and chance to meet some of its friendly inhabitants. Afternoon return to Kalaw and some time to wander around the small town, and perhaps explore the market or sit in a local tea shop and watch the world go by?
Overnight: Kalaw Transport: Walk, Meals: B, L,
Day 9 - Kalaw to Lake Inle - across the Shan Plateau
Day trip through the picturesque countryside of the Shan Plateau taking in, firstly, one of the local farmers’ markets before heading to the town of Pindaya to visit the spectacular Shwe Umin cave temples. Lunch by the lake and a chance to check out the traditional umbrella making which Pindaya is famous for. In the afternoon we’ll continue our scenic route to Nyaung Shwe – gateway town to the famous Inle Lake.
Overnight: Nyaung Shwe, (Inle) Transport: Minibus, Meals: B, L, D,
Day 10 - Lake Inle - villages and local market
Day boat trip around the picturesque lake including visits to a lakeside village market, a traditional hand rolling cheroot factory, a fascinating lotus weaving project and the highly unusual floating gardens.
Overnight: Nyaung Shwe, (Inle) Transport: Boat, Meals: B, L, D,
Day 11 - lake Inle - boat journey to In Dein
Morning departure across the lake and upriver to the small lakeside village of In Dein from where we’ll hike through the picturesque landscape to visit the site of a ruined Shan city, known as the Shan Bagan, where myriad ruined stupas dot the lush vegetation. Return to Nyaung Shwe for lunch and an afternoon at leisure.
Overnight: Nyaung Shwe, (Inle) Transport: Boat, Meals: B, L,
Day 12 - Lake Inle - at leisure and return to Yangon
Free morning at Lake Inle to do your own thing; cycle to the surprisingly good Red Mountain Winery, check out the local market, visit a local village by canoe or just relax in a tea shop before an afternoon return flight to Yangon.
Overnight: Yangon Transport: Minibus, Plane, Meals: B, D,
Day 13 - Yangon - free morning and departure
Free morning to perhaps do some last–minute shopping or souvenir hunting at the famous Scott Market and a late afternoon departure.
Airport transfers are included if you purchase the ‘with flights’ package. If you purchased your own flights, airport transfers can be arranged.
Extra nights in Yangon before or after your tour are available on request.
Overnight: Departure Meals: B,
The nitty-gritty, the things you need to know, the answers to your burning questions.
Just a few of the tour highlights...
Sunsets, sunrises, spectacular landscapes, local markets, colonial architecture, ancient temples, traditional hill-tribes and of course plenty of friendly locals and wonderful Burmese curries!
- Rangoon: noisy, bustling, dirty, terrible roads, little street lighting - wonderful!!! A Southeast Asian city as they used to be
- Dusk trip to Mandalay's iconic and picturesque U Bein Bridge, the world's longest teak bridge
- Explore the ruins of Ava ancient city by horse and cart. (It's not a tourist gimmick - there's simply no alternative!)
- A dusk visit to the breathtaking, (and it really is), Shwedagon Pagoda. Incredible sights and sounds at Burma's most iconic temple
- Tour the ruins of world famous Bagan where hundreds of ancient temples spread across a plain make this one of Asia's most spectacular sites
- 2 day boating around the stunning Lake Inle; local markets, lakeside villages, floating gardens, temples
Air Departures (UK)
- 24 November 18 3,200 GBP
- 22 December 18 3,400 GBP
- 5 January 19 3,200 GBP
- 2 February 19 3,200 GBP
- 23 February 19 3,200 GBP
- 16 March 19 3,200 GBP
- 13 April 19 3,200 GBP
- 18 May 19 3,200 GBP
- 22 June 19 3,200 GBP
- 27 July 19 3,300 GBP
- 17 August 19 3,200 GBP
- 14 September 19 3,200 GBP
- 26 October 19 3,200 GBP
- 16 November 19 3,200 GBP
- 30 November 19 3,200 GBP
- 23 December 19 3,400 GBP
- 25 November 18 2,350 GBP
- 23 December 18 2,350 GBP
- 6 January 19 2,350 GBP
- 3 February 19 2,350 GBP
- 24 February 19 2,350 GBP
- 17 March 19 2,350 GBP
- 14 April 19 2,350 GBP
- 19 May 19 2,350 GBP
- 23 June 19 2,350 GBP
- 28 July 19 2,350 GBP
- 18 August 19 2,350 GBP
- 15 September 19 2,350 GBP
- 27 October 19 2,350 GBP
- 17 November 19 2,350 GBP
- 1 December 19 2,350 GBP
- 24 December 19 2,350 GBP
Guaranteed Places Left Special Price Solo Traveller Closed
*Air departures are from the UK. Land departures start from Yangon (Rangoon)
*Land departure dates correspond to the FIRST day of the itinerary.
We choose our hotels based on a combination of location, comfort and convenience. Here is a *selection of the types of hotel/rooms you can expect to stay at on this tour...
Asia Plaza Hotel, Yangon view
- Great central location near Scott Market
- Rooftop bar with 360 degree views
- Friendly, helpful staff
Bagan Umbra Hotel, Bagan view
- Delightful garden setting with temple views
- Swimming pool & poolside restaurant
- Quiet location in Nyaung U Town
Bawga Theiddhi Hotel, Bagan view
- Welcome large pool in steamy Bagan
- Quiet location in New Bagan Village
- Friendly staff, well-appointed rooms and poolside bar
Ayarwaddy River View Hotel, Mandalay view
- Great waterfront location in downtown Mandalay
- Sunset views over the Irrawaddy River from the 'Skybar'
- Friendly staff, comfortable and well-appointed rooms
Paradise Hotel, Nyaung Shwe, (Inle) view
- Our favourite in Nyaung Shwe, gateway town for Lake Inle
- Chalet styel rooms with balconies and cane chairs
- Garden setting and convenient location
Dream Mountain Resort, Kalaw view
- Pine decor amid the pine forest
- Garden setting on a hillside overlooking Kalaw Town
- Friendly staff, great rooms - our fave in Kalaw
*This list should be considered a guide only, hotels/rooms may change (without notice) depending on availability.
Visa Info & Notes
Burma: You will need to get a visa before you travel. E-visas are now available for many countries https://evisa.moip.gov.mm. Alternatively, you need to apply at your nearest Burmese Embassy or Consulate. A visa is valid for 3 months from the date of issue so we recommend applying for one about 2-3 months before your return date.
Note: You are applying as a foreign independent traveller NOT a package tour group. The hotel for visa purposes is the Asia Plaza Hotel, Rangoon c/o Tour Mandalay (our ground handler). You should not require any other details.
Passport validity: Your passport should be valid for a minimum period of 6 months from the date of entry into Burma. You may be refused entry if your passport is damaged or in poor condition.
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