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OVERVIEW

Bagan / Inle Lake / Pyin Oo Lwin / Mandalay / Yangon

This Myanmar trip is as much about the journey as it is about the destination! Travel aboard everything from trishaws to horse carts, slow-moving trains to long-tail boats. Get an up-close look at the sites and travel alongside locals, forging a deeper connection with the people and places of Myanmar.

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TRIP HIGHLIGHTS

Tour Highlights for Myanmar Planes, Trains, Bikes and Boats
Experience local ways of life

Experience local ways of life

Travel on Yangon’s slow-moving train, joining locals on their way daily commute and seeing the city’s suburban lifestyles.

Get a different perspective on Myanmar

Get a different perspective on Myanmar

See Yangon by pedal-powered trishaw and Bagan by horse cart, traveling slowly for a closer look at the iconic sites.

Step off the tourist trail

Step off the tourist trail

Use alternative transport options, including bikes and trishaws, to get into smaller villages and neighbourhoods rarely visited by tourists.

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ITINERARY

Myanmar Planes, Trains, Bikes and Boats - 10 Days / 9 Nights

DAY 1 - Arrive Yangon (Trishaw)MealsMEALS [D]

Exo TravelYangon Airport to Yangon city centre (20 km): 30 – 60 mins

Upon arrival, be greeted warmly by the guide and driver and be transferred to the hotel. After checking in, take a rest while preparing your taste-buds for a fun night of culinary exploration by private tri-shaw.

Departing from downtown, head to Pansuriya Restaurant. Part restaurant, part art gallery, and part antique store, this unique establishment is not only a fantastic introduction to Burmese cuisine, but also a fascinating place in its own right. While the food is being prepared, be sure to take some time to explore some of the restaurant’s nooks, crannies, and knick-knacks.

The second stop is Monsoon Restaurant. One of the most well-known restaurants in Yangon, Monsoon has been serving up some of Yangon’s most iconic dishes for years. Curries are a central component of Burmese cuisine and tend to be more savory and less spicy than those of neighboring countries. Get a fabulous introduction to this Burmese staple with a taste of Monsoon’s iconic version of it.

Then it’s back on the trishaws for a stop at the Rangoon Tea House. A modern take on the classic corner tea shop, this restaurant is great spot for dessert.  Choose between locally influenced treats such as chai cheesecake or traditional desserts such as falooda, an interesting smoothie-like drink.

After dessert get back on the trishaws and head past famous landmarks such as Mahabandoola Park, City Hall, and Sule Pagoda. Wrap up the evening with a night-cap at Yangon Yangon. Located on the top floor of the Sakura Tower in downtown, this spot offers amazing views of the surrounding area, including Shwedagon and Sule Pagodas.

Overnight in Yangon.

DAY 2 - Yangon (Circle Train and Walking)MealsMEALS [B|L]

This morning the tour starts at 08:00.

Transfer to Yangon Railways Station for a unique ride on the city’s Circular Train through the outskirts of town (20-30 minutes ride). This slow-moving train offers great opportunities to observe the lively, colorful lifestyle of local people in the area.  

After arriving back in Yangon’s downtown area, embark on a 3-hour walking tour through the city’s central districts. Many of the buildings visited are on the Yangon City Heritage List, a list of 188 man-made structures mainly consisting of religious landmarks and colonial-era buildings. Along the way, become acquainted with Burmese culture with encounters residents and stop for lunch at a local haunt. (Length of walking tour can be adjusted to accommodate weather or preferences)

Before returning to the hotel, stop for a cup of tea or coffee at a popular tea shop. Busy from morning until night, teashops are a deeply ingrained part of Burmese culture. Be sure to try the semolina cakes and great noodle dishes on offer. (drinks only; food not included)

If time allows, continue to Bogyoke Market, formerly known as Scott’s Market, to browse through the dozens of interesting stalls and shops. This is Yangon’s best-known market for handicrafts and other goods.  (Note: Market is closed on Mondays and public holidays).

From here, continue to Shwedagon Pagoda the most revered Buddhist temple in Myanmar. Although the origins of the pagoda are unclear, local legend states that the original structure was built 2500 years ago and renovated several times before taking its current shape in the 15th century. The 8-sided central stupa is 99-meters tall, gilded with gold leaf, and surrounded by 64 smaller stupas. While following the guide around this massive, learn why the temple is so revered among locals.        

Overnight in Yangon.

DAY 3 - Yangon - Bagan (Horse Cart) MealsMEALS [B]

Exo TravelNyaung U Airport to Old Bagan (9 km): 20 mins Nyaung U Airport to New Bagan (12 km): 20 mins

After breakfast at the hotel, transfer to the airport for a flight to Bagan (Nyaung Oo).

From the 11th to 13th centuries, when Bagan was the capital of Myanmar, the rulers constructed thousands of huge stupas and temples, most of which are still standing today on the banks of the Irrawaddy River. 

The discovery of Bagan begins with views of the magnificent plains of Bagan on the way to the colorful Nyaung Oo Market, where locals come to buy and sell fresh produce and other goods.  After getting a feel for the unique vibes of the market, head to the golden stupa of Shwezigon Pagoda for an introduction into Bagan’s rich history. Then, visit nearby Wetkyi-In Gubyaukgyi, a cave-temple with exquisite jataka mural paintings, and the elegant Htilominlo Temple, noted for its fine plaster carvings and glazed sandstone decorations.

Later in the afternoon, visit a traditional lacquerware workshop and observe the production of one of Myanmar’s best-known handicrafts. Continue to Ananda Temple, an architectural masterpiece and one of Bagan’s most beautiful temples.

Built in the early Mon-style, Ananda contains two unique Buddha images whose expressions seem to change depending on the distance from which the statue is viewed.

From here, travel by horse cart for a tour passing Thatbyinnyu, the highest temple in Bagan, Dhammayangyi Temple, noted for its remarkable brickwork, and Sulamani Temple.

Enjoy an unforgettable sunset over the plains from one of the elevated viewpoint.

Overnight in Bagan.

DAY 4 - Bagan (Bicycle & Boat)MealsMEALS [B]

Today the sightseeing begins at 08:00.

Embark on a half-day bike trip toward Kyauk Gu U Min. While biking past the Nyaung U Morning Market, pop in to browse through the colourful stalls of produce, meats, and dry goods while taking a moment to absorb the unique bustling vibe.

Continue by bike through small lanes, stopping at will to take photos or mingle with locals.

Then, arrive at Kyauk Gu U Min, a beautiful temple with exquisite stone carvings depicting religious figures. The temple itself is built against the side of cliff with a cave entrance behind the wall of the main hall. Inside the cave there are several small niches where individuals can practice meditation. Legend states that the cave was built during the 13th century and used by locals to hide in during the Mongol invasion.

After exploring Kyauk Gu U Min, head to a jetty on the eastern side of the Irrawaddy River and board a comfortable riverboat. Then, follow the graceful bends of the Irrawaddy River while taking in fantastic views of riverside villages and Bagan temples. After about an hour, reach Bagan and transfer back to the hotel. 

Overnight in Bagan.

DAY 5 - Bagan – Mandalay - Pyin Oo Lwin (Horse & Cart)MealsMEALS [B]

After breakfast at the hotel, transfer to Nyaung U Airport for the flight to Mandalay.

Upon arrival at Mandalay Airport, be treated to a scenic two-hour drive to the former British hill station of Pyin Oo Lwin.  The town is located on a plateau 1000m above sea level and renowned for its cooler temperatures and lush foliage. Many reminders of the colonial era are still present in Pyin Oo Lwin, including brick and timber houses with British names and a surprisingly pleasant Botanical Gardens to the south of town.

Spend the rest of the afternoon at leisure. We suggest taking a traditional horse and carriage ride through the town to see the historical houses and Botanical Gardens. Alternatively, pay a visit to the local market near the clock tower in the centre of the town and check out the colorful array of items for sale there including locally-produced jams and fruit wines.

Overnight in Pyin Oo Lwin.

DAY 6 - Pyin Oo Lwin – Naung Pain Village - Mandalay (Train)MealsMEALS [B|L]

Exo TravelMandalay Airport to Mandalay city centre (41 km): 60 mins

Depart from the hotel after breakfast around 08:00 and transfer to the Pyin Oo Lwin Train Station to embark on a classic locomotive tour en route to Naung Pain Village. The journey takes around 3-4 hours, passing through stunning scenery and the picturesque Gokhteik Viaduct.

A lunch box will be prepared and served along the way.

Reach Naung Pain Village around midday. After a brief tour of the area, transfer back to Mandalay by car and enjoy the scenery along the way (around 4 hours).

On the ride back to Mandalay, stop to check out the famous strawberry field and dairy farm at December Farms. This is a fantastic place to sample some of the delicious local fruit wine and homemade ice cream as well.

Overnight in Mandalay.

DAY 7 - Mandalay - Mingun – Amarapura – Mandalay (Boat)MealsMEALS [B|L]

Exo TravelMandalay-Amarapura (13 km): 30 mins

This morning the tour starts at 08:00.

Transfer to the Mandalay Jetty and board a private local boat for an hour-long cruise along the Irrawaddy River to Mingun.

Begin the tour of Mingun’s incredible historical heritage with a visit to the famous Mingun Pahtoedawgyi Stupa.  This huge brick structure was left unfinished after an astrologer predicted the king would die should the temple be completed.  In the 1800s, an earthquake left several large cracks in the structure, giving it the iconic appearance it has today.  Continue exploring with a visit to the beautiful white Hsinbyume Pagoda whose distinctive style is meant to resemble the mythical Mount Meru.  Then, see the Mingun Bell which weighs 90-tons and is considered the world’s largest uncracked ringing bell.

Return to Mandalay by boat and enjoy lunch at a local restaurant.

Next, pay a visit to Mahamuni Pagoda for a look at its iconic golden Buddha image. Considered one of Myanmar’s most sacred Buddhist sites, worshippers have covered the image with so much gold leaf over the years that it has taken on a distinct ‘lumpy’ texture.  The palpable religious fervour of Mahamuni Pagoda makes it the perfect place to observe local traditions and culture in action. Afterwards, observe skilled local craftsmen as they create beautiful traditional works of art such as wood carvings, kalaga tapestries, and gold leaf, and learn how these traditions were shaped and maintained over generations.

OPTIONAL ACTIVITY: Make a marionette -join the local craftsmen in their workshop and create a unique puppet under their guidance. It’s a great hands-on way to learn about the local culture and create a memorable, personalized souvenir!

Continue to Amarapura. This former capital is home to U Bein Bridge, a 200-year-old teak wood structure constructed of 984 teak posts that were once part of the deserted Inwa Palace. At more than a kilometre in length, it’s the longest teak wood construction in the world. Enjoy a stroll along the bridge, soaking up fabulous views of Taungthaman Lake and the surrounding countryside. Then, prepare for something special. U Bien Bridge’s real claim to fame rests in its legendary sunsets. As the sun dips below the horizon, the entire area becomes bathed in golden light making for one of the best photographic opportunities in all of Asia.

Afterwards, return back to the hotel for some well-earned rest.

Overnight in Mandalay.

DAY 8 - Mandalay - Heho – Nyaung Shwe (Trishaw & Bike)MealsMEALS [B]

Exo TravelHeho Airport to Nyaung Shwe (28 km): 45 mins Nyaung Shwe Jetty to Hotel on Inle Lake (10 – 20 km): 30 – 60 mins

After an early breakfast at the hotel, transfer to the airport for a flight to Heho.

From Heho, a scenic one-hour drive leads to Nyaung Shwe, the gateway village to Inle Lake. Along the way, stop at the wooden Shwe Yan Pyay Monastery which features beautiful carvings and a collection of Buddha images.

Start with a visit to the Nyaung Shwe Morning Market where colorfully dressed locals gather every morning to buy and sell fresh produce from the lake and its surroundings.

Continue by local trishaw down to the bustling canal which is a hive of activity in the morning as boats from the lake come in to unload tomatoes and other vegetables for distribution to markets around the country. Take some time to absorb the unique vibe of this bustling cultural atmosphere.

Afterwards, hop back on the trishaw and wind through quiet streets. Make a stop at the ‘Tomato House’, a warehouse-like structure where tomatoes are sorted and priced for sale. Then continue past some of the many monasteries and nunneries in the town, stopping for photos along the way. 

Lunch at local restaurant in Nyaung Shwe (client account).

After fuelling up, begin a tour of the area by mountain bike. First, cycle to the west of the lake toward the village of Khaung Daing. From there, cross over the town’s main canal to a verdant rice paddy. Then head south for around 8 kilometers to Khaung Daing. Take time to explore this village, famous for its production of soya bean products. Then catch a local ferry boat across the lake to Maing Thauk Village. The relaxing boat trip takes around 20 minutes and is not only a perfect break from biking, but also affords some amazing photo opportunities.

From here, turn north up the lake's eastern shores for around 10 kilometers to Red Mountain Estate. The ride is gorgeous, passing many local farms and villages along the quiet roads. Take a break to visit Red Mountain Winery, a collaboration between the Pa-Oh people and a French wine expert.

Then descend to Nyaung Shwe, arriving in the late afternoon.

Overnight in Nyaung Shwe or on Inle Lake.

DAY 9 - Inle Lake - In Dein (Boat)MealsMEALS [B]

Today the sightseeing begins at 08:00 with a visit to the lake’s morning market. The market rotates its location around the lake’s villages in a 5-day rhythm and is visited by lake inhabitants and surrounding hill tribes who come to sell and trade their wares. Continue to Phaung Daw Oo Pagoda, the lake’s main sanctuary, which contains five sacred Buddha images covered in gold leaf.  (Note: the market is daily except on dark and full moon days)

OPTIONAL ACTIVITY: Prepare lunch with a local family - This cooking course is a fun and interesting way to learn about the traditional flavors and preparation techniques of Burmese Cuisine.  Join a local Intha family in their kitchen to cook local dishes. Then sit on the floor at a round table and dine the local way. Minimum 2 persons

Explore the local crafts of Inle Lake with a stop at the weaving village of Inpawkhone and a cheroot factory, where the typical Burmese cigars are made by hand.

From the middle of the lake, continue down a small canal leading to the Pa-oh village of Indein.  Stroll around the village, exploring by foot, and wander through the beautiful Alaung Sitthou area.  From here, climb the covered stairway to the top of a hill which is covered with picturesque ancient stupas and has magnificent views of the lake below.

After enjoying the visit to Indein, return to the boat. Continue along the lake for additional sightseeing before returning to the hotel.  

Overnight in Nyaung Shwe or on Inle Lake.

DAY 10 - Heho - Yangon Departure (Plane)MealsMEALS [B]

After breakfast in the morning, transfer to Heho Airport for a flight to Yangon.

From there, transfer to the international airport for the onward flight. If time allows, we suggest joining one of our optional tours.

Cycle the Backroads of Yangon: This trip is an adventurous cycle through the heart of Yangon, the largest city in Myanmar. Due to a lack of development over the last 50 years, Yangon still has quite a few charming back roads. Perfect for cycling, these paths crisscross throughout the city, connecting Yangon’s many communities. This trip explores areas rarely visited by tourists; places where bamboo houses and teak wood shops are still the norm.

Yangon for Foodies: Get a taste for Burmese food and culture with a half-day guided ‘Yangon for Foodies’ tour. Visit some of the city’s best fresh markets, sample tasty treats, sip a cuppa with the locals in a tea shop and enjoy a traditional curry lunch. From sweet fried donuts to strange fermented tea leaf salad, try lots of unexpected Burmese treats. (Lunch included)

Pilgrimage Tour: Trace the path of a Yangon legend that stretches back 2,000 years on our guided Pilgrimage Tour. Visit three stupas where, many years ago, sacred Buddha relics brought from India were enshrined by two merchant brothers. Join local pilgrims on this fascinating spiritual journey that also passes through Shwedagon Pagoda -Myanmar’s most iconic destination.

Art Gallery Tour: Explore traditional and modern Burmese art with a guided tour of Yangon’s burgeoning art scene. Visit a selection of local galleries displaying paintings, sculptures and photographs from famous art pioneers and emerging young artists. Enjoy a cocktail at House of Memories Restaurant, a historic building once used as a headquarters for the country’s independence movement.

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IMPORTANT INFORMATION

Our services include:

  • 9 night’s accommodation in a shared twin room or shared double room with daily breakfast
  • Meals as mentioned in the program (B = breakfast, L = Lunch, D = Dinner)
  • English-speaking guide station guides (1 guide per location)
  • All transfers and excursions with private air-conditioned vehicles with drivers
  • Horse cart tour in Bagan
  • Private local boat for Mingun excursion, Kyauk Gu U Min excursion in Bagan and for Inle Lake excursions
  • Porter fees at airports
  • Entrance fees for the visits mentioned in the program
  • Drinking water while touring

Our services do not include:

  • International ticket to/from Yangon
  • Domestic flights (rate: please refer to our flight tariffs)
  • Meals other than mentioned (B = Breakfast, L = Lunch, D = Dinner)
  • Visa arrangements for Myanmar
  • Fuel Surcharge for domestic flights
  • Visits not mentioned in the program
  • Drinks and personal expenses
  • Tips and porters at the hotels
  • Credit card fees (2-3%) or bank transfer fees for non-cash payments
  • Any other items not mentioned
  • Surcharges or compulsory meals may apply for holiday periods like Christmas, New Year, Water Festival, etc.
  • All itineraries are subject to change due to circumstances beyond our control including, weather, road or trail conditions, tour attractions, tours and flight schedules.
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