Magic of Myanmar

Destinations: Myanmar

Trip Duration: 11

Max Group Size: 20

Minimum Age: 18

Magic of Myanmar  

Day 1-2: US. - Yangon

Depart the U.S. on your flight to Yangon. Cross the international dateline and arrive in Yangon the following day. Upon arrival, meet your local guide and transferred to your hotel. Dinner is at Sofaer & Co. restaurant. (Meals aloft, D)



  • Accommodations: Excelsior Yangon Hotel 
  • Meals Included: Meals Aloft, D
Day 3: Yangon

After breakfast at the hotel, visit the Insight Meditation Center and meet with the resident monks to learn the ancient meditation practice—Vipassana or insight meditation, passed directly from Buddha’s disciples over 2000 years ago.

What’s behind the golden façade of the Shwedagon Pagoda? During this interactive half day tour, you are taken through the back door and shown the full history of the pagoda, the daily life of all people living in the immediate surroundings of the pagoda and a deeper insight in the Buddhist religion and how the spiritual belief is mixed with the belief in nats – the Myanmar spirits. An intriguing half day tour starting from the bottom of the hill and passing the workshops, markets and monasteries which will be essential to understanding more of the country during the rest of your journey. The tour includes a traditional Burmese breakfast, offerings to monks and the pagoda and a visit to a fortune teller.

Next, visit Proximity Designs, an organization founded 13 years ago in collaboration with Stanford’s design school. Here, Burmese designers and architects create products and services that benefit rural communities. Meet with some of the staff and learn about their work and current projects.

A Burmese lunch at Monsoon restaurant.

Yangon downtown is unique with much of its colonial-era architecture still standing. You will find one of Asia’s most impressive collections of late nineteenth and early twentieth- century buildings, religious and secular. After lunch this walking tour will take you a step back in time, through downtown Yangon, focusing on its old colonial buildings, neglected or purposefully restored. Stop at the Secretariat (closed on Sunday, views from the outside only), scene of the nation-stopping assassination of General Aung San which has been closed off to the public for over since the 1960s.

In the late afternoon, meet with Ma Thanegi (Burmese writer, food lover and former secretary of Aung San Suu Kyi) for coffee or tea. She will offer insight of the events in Myanmar history as she was closely associated to the opposition movement in the uprising of 1988. She spent 3 years in the Insein Jail and published a book “Nor Iron Bars a Cage”. She was born in Myanmar and educated at the Methodist English High School. Originally a painter who exhibited with group shows since 1967 until 1998, as well as in seven solo exhibitions. Ma Thanegi lives in Yangon and her experiences in Insein Jail are described in her book Nor Iron Bars a Cage. Things Asian Press, H.K. January 2013. (On Amazon). All her books are listed here:

Dinner at House of Memories, a lovely colonial building with tasty local cuisine. (B,L,D)

  • Accommodations: Excelsior Yangon Hotel 
  • Meals Included: B,L,D
Day 4: Yangon - Heho - Inle Lake

After an early breakfast, transfer to the airport for your flight to Heho.

Transfer by coach and arrive in the south bank of the lake with the ancient ruins of Indein. Partly covered by vegetation, the area looks like a “pagoda forest”. Hike the path along the lake for an hour and enjoy the fantastic scenery.

A home-made cooked lunch is served in a local house. We continue towards the Nam Pan village for a very interesting trip going local with a small canoe. Whenever you are tired paddling yourself we continue by motorboat back to your hotel.

The rest of the day is at leisure.  

  • Accommodations: Sanctum Inle Resort 
  • Meals Included: B,L
Day 5: Inle Lake

After breakfast at the hotel, take a tour of Inle Lake in the southern Shan State. Inle Lake is a vast natural lake surrounded by traditional Shan villages. On the lake itself, the Intha people have been living for many centuries in a village built entirely on stilts above the water.

You will travel by private motorboat around the lake to discover the natural beauty of the lake, visit the floating gardens, see some of the famous leg rowers and have some tea at a local family’s house. On and around the lake traditional markets are held in different villages according to a 5-day rotating schedule and on this day you will visit a colourful market frequented by Shan and PaO people living nearby. We will certainly also visit a local house where cheroot (the Burmese cigars) are made, floating tomato gardens, Phaung Daw Oo Pagoda, an Intha house where a traditional Intha lunch is served and if time allows you will visit a weaving factory. 

  • Accommodations: Sanctum Inle Resort 
  • Meals Included: B,L

Optional Event—traditional women boat racing

This optional activity support Intha women boat racing and would require an additional cost. 

A spectacular and fun way to get a close insight into the traditional boat racing of the Intha people. Throughout the year, different communities on the Lake practise diligently inorder to win the championship at the biggest boat racing event in October. You will have a chance to participate in this training while 2 teams of 15 women on each boat practise and compete against each other. After the first round, you could join one of the teams and compete together. This would be an unforgettable experience as well as supporting Intha women living on the Lake who have been preserving the beautiful boat racing culture.

Day 6: Inle Lake

One of the distinctive hill tribes from Shan State are the Pa O who are known for their navy-blue clothes, colourful red or orange turbans and their good farming and trading skills. During this day trekking you get to know life as the Pa O live it by visiting their villages in the hills, eating their food and even dressing like a Pa O (a great photo opportunity!) Start with a 15 minute horse cart ride from the hotel in Nyaung Shwe (or a boat ride from your hotel on the lake) and then embark on a 2.5 hour walk (a bit uphill) to arrive in a Pa O village where you have time to talk with the monks and where you will be invited to wear the traditional dress. Continue about 30 minutes (mainly flat) and arrive in a village where a traditional Pa O lunch is served with dishes like ginger soup, pumpkin leave salad and sukini leave salad. Amble time to relax and prepare for the afternoon walk which is about 2.5 hours, with stunning views on the lake and plantations, with crops like ginger, garlic and turmeric. Just before boarding the boat to bring you back to the hotel we stop for a last beautiful view over the lake as a reward for having passed the Pa O experience.

Dinner is at the hotel with a Shan traditional dance and entertainment.

  • Accommodations: Sanctum Inle Resort 
  • Meals Included: B,L


Day 7: Heho - Bagan

Have breakfast at the hotel. Transfer to the airport for your flight to Bagan.

Minnanthu is the favourite temple area for frequent Bagan visitors. It’s tranquil, with temples often completely deserted. You will be taken by van to this forgotten part of Bagan. Spread out a blanket and be served a great picnic lunch in this historical setting. You will visit 2-3 ancient temples ruins in the area.

After lunch, you will have a special meeting with a local archaeologist from the Archaeological Department to learn about this ancient and grand temple/pagoda city. Enjoy a 1 hour talk about the history of Bagan.

Biography Mr. Myo Nyunt Aung

Mr. Myo Nyunt Aung, is an Independent Research Scholar (Archaeology), prior to this, he has had 23 years of service in the Department of Archaeology, Myanmar. (1987-2010) where he held the position of Deputy Director for the Department of Archaeology, Myanmar. Currently, he is Executive Member of the Association for the Protection and Preservation of Bagan Cultural Heritage Region; he is a knowledgeable Bagan resident who has first-hand experience working on the preservation and restoration of the vast number of ancient temples. In recognition of his expertise he was invited as visiting Scholar, Asian Studies Program, University of Hawaii at Manoa, Honolulu, USA (2010-2011).

Take some time to visit the Art Museum with Mr. Myo Nyunt Aung.

In the late afternoon, transfer to Jetty and take a private boat ride to the middle of the Ayeyarwaddy River for a beautiful and relaxed sunset ride with cocktail and snacks served by your guide. 


  • Accommodations: Bagan Lodge 
  • Meals Included: B,L
Day 8: Bagan

It’s all about food this morning. The last king of Bagan was famous for his enormous appetite and he ordered that every meal should include 300 different dishes! Today you are going to discover the kind of food he must have eaten. Learn about herbs and greens at the market in Myinkaba, visit home-based cottage industries where products like tamarind paste or candies are made and we visit Mingalazedi pagoda which was built by this last king. Try the different tastes from sweet to bitter, typical Burmese ingredients in a local monastery and end the excursion with a meal like the last king of Bagan would have had it; just a bit more moderate with “only” 30 different dishes to try.

Next, visit some of the classic as well as some of the hidden temples of Bagan after the sun has set. The private guided trip includes the extraordinary Ananda temple entered at a time very few others are around and a beautiful lesser known temple lit by the moon. Experience how the Bagan temples feel in the evening and wonder if the spirit of the past is still around. During the 3 hour excursion, you will taste some typical snacks usually served at night during temple festivals and then have dinner at a nearby restaurant. (B,L,D)

  • Accommodations: Bagan Lodge 
  • Meals Included: B,L,D
Day 9: Bagan

After breakfast, drive out of Bagan, to discover the dry zone. With a 4×4 car you will head out while seeing the local women carrying fire wood and supplies for the market, and the communities starting their daily activities. Nyaung Gyi is the first village visit where you will see a black smith work shop. In Se Ywa village, visit several local workshops (Plum purifying, cooking oil producing and wooden slipper maker). Then, continue to Taung Kong village where much of the people are farmers and/or potters. Drive through the dry zone back to Bagan with a lunch stop at a local restaurant. A great trip for photographers and anyone interested in daily life of local people.

The rest of the day is free at your leisure. 

  • Accommodations: Bagan Lodge
  • Meals Included: B,L
Day 10: Bagan - Mandalay

After breakfast, your guide will meet you at the hotel for a private transfer to Mandalay (approximately 4.5 hours).

Stop at Mt. Popa for photos. Have lunch at a local restaurant along the way.

Upon arrival in Mandalay, you will visit the old capital of Amarapura in a quiet village where you will hear weaving machines. Walk through the famous Mahagandayon monastery complex with hundreds of monks in residence. Visit a 100-year-old weaving vocational training school. Walk over U-Bein Bridge and taste a sip of Mandalay rum which has been in production since 1886!

Stop at the Mahamuni pagoda and have a look at this century old Buddha statue originated from Mrauk Oo. It is a very lively temple compound where you will see men sticking gold leaves to the Buddha statue constantly. The Mahamuni is also an excellent place to shop for the perfect Buddha statue (bronze or wood). Can’t find what you are looking for? Wander the marble carving street where more Buddhist statues are displayed. 


  • Accommodations: Hilton Mandalay 
  • Meals Included: B,L
Day 11: Mandalay - U.S.

On the last morning, visit the most famous monuments of Mandalay. Head to the top of Mandalay Hill for a great view over the Mandalay fort. Continue to Atumashi and the Shwenandaw monasteries with excellent examples of the architecture and crafts work of the region. End your visit at the Kuthodaw Pagoda with impeccable white marble slabs.

Transfer to the Mandalay International airport for your flight back home. 

  • Meals Included: B

Amazing Sunsets
Archaeologist Meet-up
Boat Racing
Inle Lake
Shwedagon Pagoda
Traditional cuisine
Traditional living experience

All accommodations as per program
All entrance fees
All meals listed in itinerary
All transfers and transport as per program
Domestic air tickets in Mynamar
English speaking guides

Any compulsory and peak season surcharge
Domestic U.S. and international airfare
Gratuities to local guides and drivers on main tour
Liquor, wine, & beer, and other items of a personal nature
Meals not included in the tour
Travel insurance
Visa processing



from $3799
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