Trip Inspiration

17 Days in Magical Myanmar

Nature. Culture. History.

Magical. The word can be overused, but for Myanmar, it is a description that is both simple and true. After experiencing long periods of isolation, today's Myanmar remains wonderfully pristine and its people are anxious to share the country's warmth and charm with you. This is where you will see locals embracing the culture and traditions which have passed through generations. This is where you will see the natural beauty of unblemished beaches, rivers and lakes. This is where you will see a lovely countryside, dotted with ancient and breathtaking pagodas. This is the southeast Asia of old: where natural beauty endures and ancient traditions abound.

Trip Highlights

Locations

  • 1 night in the city of Mandalay
  • 2 nights aboard an Ayeyarwady River Cruise
  • 3 nights in historic Bagan
  • 2 nights in charming Kalaw
  • 3 nights on picturesque Inle Lake
  • 1 night in bustling Yangon
  • 4 nights in the beautiful Myeik Archipelago

Activities

  • Experience the vibrant Burmese people on and along the Ayeyarwady River
  • Explore rural village life across the country
  • Embark on a sunrise hot air balloon ride over Bagan
  • Shop unique markets and local artisan workshops
  • Explore iconic Inle Lake and its many natural, cultural and historic sites
  • Luxuriate in the island paradise of Wa Ale resort
What does “Trip Inspiration” mean?

At Travel Beyond, we believe your trip should be designed just for you, not for the masses. Our travel consultants create a custom itinerary for each client, offering recommendations for places and experiences that best fit your style. The itinerary below was planned for a past client, but we’re sharing it for travel inspiration and as an example of what a trip to Myanmar might look like. Let us know when we can design a trip just for you!

Day 1 Thursday

Arrive Mandalay, Myanmar

Welcome to Myanmar! Upon your arrival in Mandalay, you will be met for your private transfer to the Hilton Mandalay, where you will stay for one night in a Deluxe Room. Enjoy the remainder of your day at leisure.

Situated in the center of the country, Mandalay is the last capital of Myanmar’s third Empire. Its bustling commercial center stands alongside the city’s many ancient wonders, creating a unique and diverse destination today. With the remains of the old Royal City, sacred monasteries and numerous other places of interest, Mandalay is a showcase for Myanmar art and architecture and is known as the country’s cultural capital. It is also noted for woodcarvings, silverware, tapestries, silk cloth, and other traditional craft products.

Hilton Mandalay N/A

 

Day 2 Friday

Mandalay to the Ayeyarwady River (Embark R.V. Strand)

Today you will be met for your transfer to Amarapura and the famous U Bein Bridge (shown above), one of the oldest bridges in the world and a landmark for over a century. Here, you will enjoy breakfast with the passengers who will join you on your Ayeyarwady River cruise.

After breakfast, you will continue to the Mahamuni Temple, one of the most revered shrines in the country. The remainder of the morning is spent exploring Amarapura, including a visit to Shwe In Bin Kyaung monastery, which dates from the 1890’s and is regarded as an oasis of calm amidst the bustle of the city.

Head to the pier to board the R.V. Strand, your home for the next two nights. The crew will be waiting to greet you and direct you to your cabin. After a short safety briefing, you will enjoy lunch as you begin sailing toward Mingun.

This afternoon, the R.V. Strand will moor in Mingun, and you can disembark to explore this interesting city. Mingun was the capital of Myanmar during King Bodawpaya’s reign. You will journey by local tuk-tuk, and visit the area’s most famous sites, including: the 500-feet tall the Pahtodawgyi Stupa; the world famous Mingun Bell, once the world’s largest functioning bell; and Paya Hsinbyume, an impressive whitewashed terrace representing the seven mountain ranges around Mount Meru, an integral part of the Buddhist universe.

A barbecue dinner will be served on the sandbank, allowing you the opportunity to dine al fresco under the stars!

Aboard R.V. Strand Breakfast / Lunch / Dinner

Day 3 Saturday

Ayeyarwady River

Enjoy a leisurely breakfast aboard the boat before visiting the ancient city of Ava, dating from the 14th century and once a prominent capital in Imperial times. The city has been ravaged by successive wars and natural disasters and much of what remains are the ruins of an abandoned kingdom. You will explore this historical city on a horse cart as you meander among endless banana plantations and ancient ruins including Bagaya Kaung, one of Myanmar’s finest teak monasteries, and the Yedanasini Pagoda. Enjoy a light lunch at a local noodle shop.

Back on board, you will get to experience Myanmar cooking first-hand with an afternoon cooking demonstration. The remainder of the day will be spent sailing towards the ancient capital of Bagan. Relax and enjoy an afternoon beside the swimming pool, indulge in a massage or just watch the passing landscape of this beautiful countryside.

Enjoy a cocktail as you admire the majestic sunset. The boat will moor for the night and a light dinner will be served. Enjoy the evening swapping stories with your fellow passengers.

Aboard R.V. Strand Breakfast / Lunch / Dinner

Day 4 Sunday

Ayeyarwady River to Bagan

Today you bid farewell to your crew and fellow passengers as you disembark the R.V Strand. You will be met by your private guide for exploration of the city of Bagan.

Bagon is one of the richest archaeological sites in Asia! With pagodas, temples and monasteries to explore, there is certainly plenty to keep you occupied. But there is more to this enchanting destination, including interesting rural village life, colorful markets and artisan workshops to name just a few. The temples at Bagan can only be described as amazing and enchanting. Sightseeing will include Gubyaukgyi, with its excellent stucco carvings, the impressive Htilominlo Pahto and Ananda Pahto, one of the best preserved temples in the archeological zone. Bagan remains largely unaffected by the 21st century and nobody leaves this magical spot disappointed.

Upon completion of your tour, you will be transfered to the Bagan Lodge, where you will spend two nights in a Villa, including breakfast daily.

Bagan Lodge Breakfast

Day 5 Monday

 

 

 

 

 

Bagan

Today is a special day of fun and unique travel experiences that take you from the heights of a hot air balloon, to a quaint horse and buggy ride, to a quiet sunset bicycle tour, and a relaxing evening boat ride!

Begin with a serene and peaceful bird’s-eye-view of Bagan’s mystical ancient temples as you drift by in a hot air balloon! Being 1,000-feet in the air gives you a unique vantage point and you will enjoy the majesty of the ancient temples that dot the landscape in all their splendor. Drift along peacefully as you take in the views on your nearly hour-long flight.

Return to your hotel for breakfast before being met by your private guide for more touring in the Bagan area.

Your tour begins with a visit to nearby Phwar Saw Village where you will witness rural life in Myanmar. En route, you will stop at an interesting market at Nyaung Oo to see the variety of fresh produce for sale. You will enjoy your time spend in the bustling market atmosphere! Later this afternoon you will be met by horse and buggy to allow you to explore some of the less visited areas which cannot be reached by automobiles.

Finish the day with a sunset bike tour which will bring you to small villages set amid the arid landscapes. Life moves at a slower pace here and you are more likely to encounter a cow or pig on the road than another vehicle! Depending on the time of year, you may see ox carts piled high with chilies, garlic being brought in from the fields, or groups of school kids flying kites on their days off. This is real life in Myanmar.

Turning in to the temple zone, you will pass by pagodas rather than people. Using a system of small tracks and trails, you wind through the plains and access a part of Bagan difficult to reach by car and rarely visited by tourists. Although the monuments are not as well-known, your route will give you a sense Bagan’s grand scale and its sheer numbers of pagodas. The tour concludes with a sunset boat ride on the Irrawaddy River. Board the boat in the early evening and cruise out to the middle of the water where a panorama of temples comes in to view. Relax with a cold drink and watch the sun cast its last rays upon brilliant Bagan. Following the cruise, you will be returned to your hotel.

Bagan Lodge Resort Breakfast

Day 6 Tuesday

Bagan to Kalaw

This morning after breakfast, you will be met for your private transfer to the Bagan airport for your commercial flight to Heho.

Upon arrival in Heho, you will be met for your private transfer to Kalaw and to the Kalaw Hill Lodge, where you will stay for two nights in a Deluxe Villa, including breakfast daily. Enjoy the remainder of your day at leisure.

Enjoy your time in Myanmar’s Shan state, and its prime attraction, Inle Lake. The lake is dotted with interesting villages and floating gardens and is one of the most picturesque locations the entire country. The lake and the surrounding area is also home to a number of tribes, including Intha, Shan, Kayah and Danaw. It is also a great area for browsing the local markets and interacting with the residents.

Kalaw Hill Lodge Breakfast

Day 7 Wednesday

Kalaw

Today after breakfast you will embark on a two-hour trek that will take you past butterflies, birds, and orchids as you make your way to Green Hill Valley Elephant Camp.

An excellent example of ecotourism in Myanmar, Green Hill Valley Elephant Camp is an ecological project designed to take care of the elephants that once worked in the timber business. You will help bathe and feed the elephants, giving you a unique and fun opportunity to connect with the animals.

Enjoy lunch at the main camp. After, local guides will be on hand to help you explore the surrounding habitat. Upon completion of your tour, you will be returned to your hotel and will have the remainder of the day at leisure.

Kalaw Hill Lodge Breakfast / Lunch

Day 8 Thursday

Kalaw to Inle Lake

Today you will have breakfast at your hotel and enjoy the rest of the morning at leisure.

This afternoon you will be met for your private transfer to the Kalaw railway station to catch the afternoon train to Heho.

Upon arrival in Heho, you will be transferred to Inle Lake and the Villa Inle Boutique Resort where you will stay for two nights. Enjoy the remainder of your day at leisure

Villa Inle Boutique Resort Breakfast

Day 9 Friday

Inle Lake

Today after breakfast, you will be met for your day of touring around Inle Lake and the surrounding area.

You will start with a visit to the local Five-Day Market, which rotates between towns in the Inle Lake region. The market is a great place to observe local life as residents come to buy and sell their goods.

Visit the five, ancient, gold-covered Buddha images at Phaung Daw Oo Pagoda, the holiest monastery on the lake. Continue with a trip to the temple at Nga Hpe Kyaung on the eastern side of the lake, which houses an impressive collection of ancient Buddha images.

The day will end with a tranquil canoe ride to witness life in one of the floating villages that are scattered throughout the lake. Upon completion of your tour you will be returned to your hotel. Enjoy the remainder of your day at leisure.

Villa Inle Boutique Resort Breakfast

 

 

Day 10 Saturday

Inle Lake

Today after breakfast, you will begin your Inle Lake kayaking tour. You will board a traditional long-tail boat for your transfer to the start of your kayaking tour near the quiet village of Inn Paw Khone. Paddling gently south, you will pass away from the busier water and into the peace and tranquility of stilt villages and floating tomato gardens. This part of the lake is quite striking, especially against the backdrop of the lovely Shan Mountains.

Every now and then we will stop, perhaps to visit a house or to walk in a village to learn more about the local lifestyle. Residents love to share their traditional food preparation methods. Upon completion of kayaking, you will return to your long-tail boat and return to Nampan where a fabulous traditional Shan lunch will have been prepared.

After lunch, you will be returned to your hotel. Enjoy the remainder of your day at leisure.

Villa Inle Boutique Resort Breakfast / Lunch

Day 11 Sunday

Inle Lake to Yangon

Today you will be transferred to the Heho Airport for your commercial flight to Yangon.

Upon arrival in Yangon, you will be met for your private transfer to The Strand Hotel, where you will stay for two nights in a Deluxe Suite, including breakfast daily. Enjoy the remainder of your day at leisure.

The Strand Hotel Breakfast

Day 12 Monday

Yangon

Today you will embark on a cycling tour of Dala, just across the Yangon River, where you will explore the little visited neighborhoods and backstreets of this area and visit its famous golden monk. The tour leads you through villages and rice fields, across rivers – perfect for visitors who want an active exploration of the area!

Your day begins with a short ride through downtown Yangon to the Pansodan jetty. Here you will board the ferry to Dala. Following the streets along the riverbank, you will soon reach the Twante canal, where you will stop at a local tea shop in a small village. Crossing the canal on small boats, you make your way to Kanaungto island – a completely car-free island and beautiful place to explore by bike! You will enjoy a relaxed ride through the small villages hidden in the bamboo groves, passing by water buffalo, street markets, and ships traveling through the canal. You will come to the local village of Seik Kyi where you will board another boat to take you across the canal and Yangon river. Enjoy the beautiful views!

Back at Wardan jetty, you will cycle past the colonial buildings on Strand road as your bicycle tour comes to an end. Upon completion of the tour, you will be returned to your hotel.

Later this evening visit the historic Shwedagon Pagoda which towers almost 326 feet above the green city scape of Yangon. One of the wonders of the religious world, it is believed to have been built more than 2500 years ago and is a testament to the strong faith of the Burmese. This magnificent building is covered with hundreds of gold plates and the top of the Stupa is encrusted with 4,531 diamonds – the largest of which is a whopping 76 carats! Early evening is one of the most magical times to visit the paya. Watch the sun set and witness the serenity and calmness that abounds at this time of the day.

The Strand Hotel Breakfast

Day 13 Tuesday

Yangon to the Myeik Archipelago

Today after breakfast, you will be transferred to the Yangon airport for your commercial flight to Kaw Thaung.

On arrival in Kaw Thaung you will transfer to the local jetty where you will board a speed boat for your ride to Wa Ale Resort.

Wa Ale Island Resort is a nature lover’s paradise and is the ultimate destination for those seeking both aquatic adventure and peaceful relaxation. Dive the deep emerald waters, snorkel endless reefs, paddle board or kayak through the mangroves. Look for wildlife on Wa Ale and neighboring islands – keep your eyes peeled for green and leatherback sea turtles, monkeys, pangolin, fish eagles, sunbirds and more! If you have relaxation on your mind, plan to visit the spa, embark on a long walk, or just enjoy time to rest. Choose from an expansive menu of choices, including:

  • Snorkeling and diving the coral reefs and sea caves of the archipelago
  • Exploration of Wa Ale Island’s river and mangroves by kayak or paddle board
  • Trekking Wa Ale island’s jungle trails
  • Boat trips to nearby islands to marvel at the breath-taking scenery
  • Visits with the local ‘Moken’ fishing community

Whatever you like to do, you can be assured that your stay will be tailored to your interests and the resort will work with you to personally design each day’s activities.

Wa Ale Resort Breakfast / Dinner

Days 14-16 Wed-Fri

Myeik Archipelago

Enjoy your days at leisure!

Wa Ale Resort Breakfast / Lunch / Dinner

Day 17 Saturday

Depart Myanmar

Today after breakfast you will board the resort’s speed boat for your return transfer to the Ranong jetty and the Ranong Airport for your onward flights home

N/A Breakfast