Exciting Days, Comfortable Nights
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Best of Myanmar - 12 Days

Discover Myanmar, an exotic land of tradition and sacred sites from the awe-inspiring religious monuments of Yangon to evocative Mandalay and its Royal Palace, the spectacular stupa-filled plains of Bagan and heavenly Inle Lake with a few surprises along the way.

Inclusions
Itinerary
Prices & Dates
Hotels
Reviews

Trip Highlights

Yangon – Botahtaung Pagoda, Sule Pagoda, Maha Bandoola Park, Chaukhtatgyi Pagoda, Shwedagon Pagoda, Yangon Tea House & Bogyoke (Scott) Market
Mingun – the remains of what could have been the world’s largest pagoda and the Mingun Bell
Sagaing Hill - spectacular views over the Irrawaddy River and rolling hills, studded with stupas and pagodas
Mount Popa – extinct volcano with numerous shrines at the summit
Pindaya – the Pindaya Caves with Buddha images carved from the limestone rock, ancient Banyan tree and local factories
An overnight cruise on the Irrawaddy River from Mandalay to Bagan
Mandalay – the Royal Palace, Shwenandaw Monastery, Kuthodaw Pagoda, Manadalay Hill and handicraft workshops
Amarapura - Mahagandayone monastery, a cottage industry workshop and the famous U Bein Bridge at sunset
Bagan - Nyaung-U local market, Shwezigon pagoda, Kyansitta "Cave" temple, Manuha Temple, Nanpaya, Ananda temple, Thatbuinnyu, Dhamayangyi, Mingalarzedi and local lacquer workshop
Kalaw – peaceful hill station with the hilltop Thein Taung Pay pagoda and trekking opportunities to local villages
Inle Lake – local fishermen, floating gardens, stilted villages, Jumping Cat Monastery and Paungdaw Oo Pagoda

Included

11 breakfasts, 2 lunches and 1 dinner (or 11 breakfasts and 1 lunch when the Irrawaddy River Cruiser is not operating)
1 night on board an Irrawaddy River Cruiser in an en suite cabin, from Mandalay to Bagan. Or flight from Mandalay to Bagan and 1 night in a Bagan hotel when the boat is not operating, between 01 Apr - 31 Jul each year. Dates can vary slightly according to the weather conditions.
One way economy class flights from Yangon – Mandalay and Heho (Inle Lake) – Yangon
All relevant transfers and transportation in private air-conditioned vehicles
9 nights 3-4 star hotels and 1 night simple country cottage
Airport arrival and departure transfers on days 1 and 12
Escorted by an English speaking tour guide (for groups of 6 or more) and specialist guides at some sights
Private boat on Inle Lake to explore the floating gardens and villages. Boat trip to Mingun

Not Included

International flights and visa
Entrance Fees: USD$80-90, paid in USD
Tip for your tour guides. We recommend you allow USD$3 - 6 per day, per traveller. Tipping your guides is an entirely personal gesture
Tipping Kitty: USD$40-50, paid in USD

Itinerary

Please note this itinerary is for travel in 2018. If travelling in 2017 please contact us for a copy of the relevant Trip Notes.

Day 1

Yangon

Saturday. Welcome to Myanmar, ‘quite unlike any place you know about’. Arrive Yangon with included airport transfer to your hotel where later in the day a Welcome Meeting will be held.
Overnight: Yangon

Day 2

Yangon pagodas, tea rooms & markets

Today we explore the fascinating city of Yangon and its famous religious monuments. In the heart of downtown we begin with a photo stop in front of Yangon City Hall, before visiting the Sule Pagoda, which is a peaceful place to retreat from the bustle of the city. The pagoda is near Maha Bandoola Park which is encircled by a host of colonial buildings and heritage sites, including Independence Monument and the High Court. We also see the hollow, golden Botahtaung Pagoda before lunch at the Yangon Tea House, which is reminiscent of the grand tea houses of colonial times and serves a delicious cup of traditional tea.

After lunch we take a stroll around the colourful Bogyoke (Scott) Market, which sells an array of goods, including gemstones, handicrafts and clothes. After some retail therapy we visit the giant 70 metre-long reclining Buddha of Chaukhtagyi Paya at Chaukhtagyi Pagoda, which has a crown encrusted in diamonds and other precious stones.

Later this evening we enjoy an excursion to the most revered Buddhist temple in Myanmar, the magnificent Shwedagon Pagoda. Standing at 90 metres tall, the gold leaf central stupa dominates the city’s skyline and turns vivid hues of yellow, orange and red when the sun begins to set.
Overnight: Yangon  |  Breakfast, Lunch

Day 3

Mandalay & Mahagandayon Monastery

Yangon – Mandalay. This morning we fly to Mandalay, Myanmar’s last royal capital. On the outskirts of Mandalay is the ancient city of Amarapura, a former capital of Myanmar which is rich in sights. Here we visit the largest teaching monastery in the country, the Mahagandayon Monastery. Hundreds of monks from the monastery queue to receive their daily alms from the people.

Travelling into the city we explore the Royal Palace and see the teak carvings on the historic Shwenandaw Monastery. We also have the opportunity to visit a local handicraft workshop to see bronze sculpting, gold leaf marking and wood carving, before spending the afternoon at leisure. This evening we visit the world’s largest book at the Kuthodaw Pagoda and our day concludes at Mandalay Hill, where we hope to enjoy a spectacular sunset, with vistas across the city.
Overnight: Mandalay  |  Breakfast

Day 4

Mingun & U-Bein Bridge

This morning we enjoy a cruise up the Irrawaddy River to Mingun where we visit the remains of what could have been the world’s largest pagoda and the mighty Mingun Bell. Intended to reach a staggering height of 152 metres, work on the pagoda stopped after the death of King Bodawpaya in 1819. Dramatically split by an earthquake in 1838, the monumental structure is still incredibly impressive.

Travelling on to Sagaing Hill we take in the spectacular views over the river and the rolling hills, which are studded with pagodas and stupas. On top of the hill is the ancient Swan Oo Pon Nya Shin pagoda and we see the remarkable Thirty Caves Pagoda and the Kaungmhudaw Pagoda.

Returning to ancient Amarapura, which is famous for its textile industry, we see how traditional fabrics are woven at a cottage industry workshop, before our final stop of the day at the famous U Bein Bridge. U Bein is the longest teak bridge in the world, set over the enchanting Taungthaman Lake. Here we have the wonderful opportunity to see the bridge in all its glory at sunset, which is a photographer's dream.
Overnight: Mandalay  |  Breakfast

Day 5

Irrawaddy River Cruise

Transferring to the jetty this morning we board an overnight Irrawaddy River Cruiser that will take us south to Bagan. Enjoy a welcome cocktail and lunch, then sit back and relax as the vessel plies its course past rolling fields of green. This afternoon, subject to water levels, we stop at Yandabo village where we’ll have the chance to visit pot workshops, a monastery and school before mooring for the night near Shwe Nann Tint village.

Please note: Between 01 Apr and 31 July each year the water level of the river is at its lowest which prevents cruises from operating. These dates do vary depending upon rainfall and the amount of water coming down the river. When the cruises are not in operation we fly from Mandalay to Bagan. Day 5 arrangements during this period are morning at leisure in Mandalay before taking a short flight to Nyaung Oo Airport and transfer to Bagan where we spend the night. Please also note that only breakfast is included when we fly to Bagan, lunch and dinner is excluded.
Overnight: Irrawaddy River Cruise  |  Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 6

Bagan's famed Stupas

We continue downstream to Bagan early this morning, enjoy breakfast on board and watch the sunrise before disembarking. Nothing can quite prepare you for the spectacular sight of stupa-upon-stupa that fills the green, dusty plains of Bagan. Over 2000 temples and pagodas dating back some 800 years create one of the most impressive skylines to be seen in Southeast Asia. Our sightseeing today begins with a visit to the town of Nyaung-U to see the local market and Bagan’s most important reliquary shrine, the Shwezigon Pagoda, and the simple Kyansittha Cave Temple with interesting 12th century frescoes.

Continuing our sightseeing we visit the gigantic Buddhas housed inside the Manuha Temple, the sandstone carvings of the nearby Nanpaya Temple, and the Ananda Temple with its four standing gold-leaf Buddhas. Other highlights of the day include the towering Thatbyinnyu Temple, Dhammayangyi Temple and the Mingalarzedi Pagoda, which was the last of the large pagodas built in the 13th century, representing the pinnacle of Bagan’s architectural skills. Our final port of call is a local lacquer workshop where we can see local craftsmen skilfully prepare Bagan’s most famous handicraft.
Overnight: Bagan  |  Breakfast

Day 7

Mt Popa & Colonial Kalaw Hill Station

Bagan – Mount Popa – Kalaw. Early this morning there's the opportunity to float over Bagan in a hot air balloon before we travel to the popular hill station of Kalaw with a stop en route at the extinct volcano of Mount Popa. The mountain is believed to be the abode of legendary Nats (spirit gods) and at the summit are numerous monasteries, pagodas and shrines in various architectural styles. Arriving into Kalaw, (approx. 7 hrs drive) a former British hill station perched on the western edge of the Shan Plateau, we enjoy breathtaking views and the serenity of the surrounds. Late this afternoon we visit Thein Taung Pay pagoda.
Overnight: Kalaw  |  Breakfast

Day 8

Danu Hill Tribe & Pindaya Caves

Kalaw – Palaung Hills – Pindaya. An early morning start allows us to enjoy a light trek into the Palaung Hills. Meandering through small ranges of rice paddies and tea plantations we arrive to Painaebin village, home to the indigenous Danu people. Walking back to Kalaw, we drive on to the quiet town of Pindaya, set amidst beautiful countryside and famous for its extensive cave network. Highlights of our sightseeing tour today include the carved Buddha images of the Pindaya caves, the ancient Banyan tree and small local factories producing Mulberry paper and bamboo hats.
Overnight: Pindaya  |  Breakfast

Days 9-10

Inle Lake & Paungdaw Oo pagoda

Pindaya – Inle Lake. After breakfast on day 9 we drive to the wonderful watery world of Inle Lake home to floating gardens, stilted villages and crumbling stupas. We tour the lake by boat and witness the unique rowing techniques of the local fishermen before visiting the unusual Nga Pe Chaung monastery and Inle Lake’s largest pagoda, the Paungdaw Oo pagoda. The remainder of the day and evening offer free time.

Day 10 is spent at leisure. You could take advantage of the lush surrounding countryside and partake in canoeing or cycling, or alternatively you could opt for an excursion to an Indein village to learn more about the ethnic tribes of the region or to Kakku, a valley of more than a thousand stupas to admire the intricate ancient carvings. Other options include a visit to Taunggyi - capital of the Southern Shan state and former British hill station or to Sagar to see the sunken stupas that lay under water for part of the year with local village visits along the way (bookable and payable locally).
Overnight: Inle Lake  |  Breakfast x 2

Day 11

Fly to Yangon & free time

Inle Lake – Heho - Yangon. After breakfast we leave the lake and transfer to the Heho airport for our flight back to Yangon. Once back in Yangon, the remainder of the day offers free time for you to further explore this delightful city or sit back, relax and enjoy the hotel facilities.
Overnight: Yangon  |  Breakfast

Day 12

Yangon

Wednesday. Today marks the end of our Burmese adventure with hotel check out and airport departure transfer.
Breakfast

Ngapali Beach break

Opt to extend your stay and enjoy some rest and relaxation at Ngapali Beach, a pristine stretch of unspoiled, palm-fringed coast on the beautiful Bay of Bengal with our 14 day Best of Myanmar & Beach tour.

Prices & Dates

Departure dates noted with a 'G' are guaranteed to operate. All other departure dates are guaranteed with a minimum of 2 persons. Prices shown are per person travelling. 'Twin/Double' prices per person apply when there are 2 people travelling, sharing a room. The 'Single supplement' applies for single travellers who require their own room and needs to be added to the 'Twin/Double' price. If you are happy to be paired up with another single traveller of the same sex on your tour, this can be arranged, thus avoiding the single person supplement.

Please note, the itinerary and trip notes online relate to travel in 2018. If you want to travel in 2017 please contact us for a copy of the 2017 Trip Notes.
Myanmar 2017 Itinerary
Xmas departure, book early!
XMAS Departure
Easter departure, book early!
Easter Departure
This departure includes a flight between Mandalay and Bagan, rather than cruising. Between 01 Apr - 30 Jul annually cruises can not operate due to the low water levels in the Irrawaddy.
Mandalay to Bagan by Flight
New Years Tour
New Year Departure
Guaranteed Departure
4+ places
Limited places
Sold out
Contact Us
2017
Price /
Person
Single
Supp.
USD $3,325
USD $1,340
16 Dec - 27 Dec 15% offPlease note, the itinerary and trip notes online relate to travel in 2018. If you want to travel in 2017 please contact us for a copy of the 2017 Trip Notes. Xmas departure, book early!G
USD $3,325
USD $2,826

USD $1,340
2018
Price /
Person
Single
Supp.
06 Jan - 17 Jan 15% offG
USD $3,415
USD $2,903

USD $1,340
USD $3,415
USD $1,340
USD $3,415
USD $1,340
17 Feb - 28 Feb 15% offG
USD $3,415
USD $2,903

USD $1,340
10 Mar - 21 Mar 15% offG
USD $3,415
USD $2,903

USD $1,340
USD $3,415
USD $1,340
USD $3,415
USD $1,340
USD $3,415
USD $1,340
USD $2,965
USD $1,130
USD $2,965
USD $1,130
USD $3,325
USD $1,340
USD $3,325
USD $1,340
USD $3,325
USD $1,340
USD $3,325
USD $1,340
USD $3,325
USD $1,340
USD $3,325
USD $1,340
USD $3,325
USD $1,340
USD $3,325
USD $1,340
USD $3,325
USD $1,340
2019
Price /
Person
Single
Supp.
USD $2,965
USD $1,130
USD $2,965
USD $1,130
USD $2,965
USD $1,130
USD $2,965
USD $1,130
USD $2,965
USD $1,130
USD $2,965
USD $1,130
USD $2,965
USD $1,130
USD $2,965
USD $1,130
USD $2,965
USD $1,130
USD $2,965
USD $1,130
USD $2,965
USD $1,130
USD $2,965
USD $1,130
USD $2,965
USD $1,130
USD $2,965
USD $1,130
USD $2,965
USD $1,130
USD $2,965
USD $1,130
USD $2,965
USD $1,130
USD $2,965
USD $1,130
USD $2,965
USD $1,130
USD $2,965
USD $1,130
USD $2,965
USD $1,130

Extra Prices

Price /
Person
Single
Supp.
Pre Tour Accommodation Yangon
USD $90
USD $90
Post Tour Accommodation Yangon
USD $90
USD $90

Hotels

The hotels listed below are ones which we frequently use on this tour. We reserve the right to substitute these hotels to ones of a similar standard when necessary.

Rose Garden Hotel, Yangon

Our Category: Superior   |   Regional Category: 4 Star Hotel

Located just a mile from the Shwedagon Pagoda and other attractions, the Rose Garden is an elegant hotel for your stay in Yangon. Enjoy the spacious superior rooms with locally-influenced decor, free Wi-Fi and a range of four-star amenities. The hotel's two restaurants and bar offer delicacies ranging from Burmese to Italian cuisine. Perhaps the highlight of this 7-floor hotel is its 60 ft outdoor pool, perfect for a sunny swim. A gift shop & gallery and 24-hour gym also feature among the hotel's services.

Eastern Palace Hotel, Mandalay

Our Category: Standard   |   Regional Category: 3 Star Hotel

The Eastern Palace is an elegant hotel situated 10 minutes' drive from central Mandalay. Its all-day restaurant and rooftop bar, large pool, and fitness centre are available for guests to relax in after seeing the sights of the former royal capital. The bright and modern rooms are equipped with flat-screen TVs, free Wi-Fi, and en-suite facilities. The hotel is also near the elaborate Shwenandaw Monastery, once part of the Burmese Royal Palace.

Irrawaddy Voyage I, Irrawaddy River Cruise

Our Category: Standard   |   Regional Category: 3 star cruise boat

Cruise along the Irrawaddy River on board the Irrawaddy Voyage I. Built in 2014, this relaxing cruise boat has spacious staterooms with private French balconies on the main deck. The sun deck is complete with lounge and bar as well as a spa and gym as well as sun loungers for a wonderful cruising experience. The main deck is also the location for the dining room where all meals are served buffet style.

Thande Hotel, Bagan

Our Category: Standard   |   Regional Category: 3 Star Hotel

Built in 1922 to facilitate the arrival of the British Prince of Wales, the Bagan Thande Hotel is the only colonial era building in the city. Rooms are furnished to a high standard with beautiful teakwood, fine fabrics and traditional handicrafts. An Al-fresco dinner overlooking the Ayeyawaddy River facing numerous pagodas is a great way to spend evenings at this wonderful Burmese retreat. The hotel is perfectly situated by the river in Old Bagan and is surrounded by beautiful gardens and temples as far as the eye can see.

Conqueror Hotel Resort, Pindaya

Our Category: Standard   |   Regional Category: 3 Star Hotel

The beautiful Conqueror Hotel Resort is perfectly integrated in to the stunning wilderness that surrounds it. Bamboo bungalows contain elegant and spacious bedrooms, complete with mosquito nets, satellite TV and tea and coffee making facilities. Delicious cuisine from Burma, China and Europe can be sampled in the magnificent dining area. After dinner, guests can head to the Venda Bar and indulge in a cocktail or two as they soak up the view of the setting sun and listen to the soft Burmese music floating through the air.

Amata Garden Resort, Inle Lake

Our Category: Superior   |   Regional Category: 4 Star Hotel

On the eastern banks of Inle Lake, Amata Garden Resort is a charming 3 story hotel where guests can enjoy beautiful views of the lake and mountains. Guest rooms are beautifully furnished in traditional Myanmar design with luxurious and modern amenities - each with a view of the lake or mountains. Guests can dine at the Royal Lotus Restaurant where international and Myanmar cuisine is served up. The Sunset Bar offers delicious liquid refreshment - perfect for the end of the day and sunset.

Reviews

Scoring an average traveller rating of 4.75 out of 5 based on 4 recent reviews

Tun was a great help in dealing with Thai Airway when they lost my luggage. He was also an excellent guide with a great knowledge of all things Burmese and a good friend by the end of the tour. I (and the rest of the tour group) couldn’t recommend him highly enough.

• Submitted 27 Mar 2017
Tour
Guide
Country

What an amazing experience ! Daut was the perfect host, organized, helpful and truly passionate about his homeland. Everyday he surprised us with some authentic local experience whether it was stopping by a family home to sit on the porch and sip tea or taking us to the morning alms in a revered location. The tour offered the ideal balance of sightseeing in the morning and lazy afternoons to head out and explore independently or laze by the pool.

• Submitted 03 Nov 2016
Tour
Guide
Country

Hi Caroline. This was yet another great trip. The itinerary, included airport transfers and accommodation was great and the local guides were excellent. This was our 5th time with On the Go!

• Submitted 03 Sep 2016
Tour
Guide
Country

The 12 day Best of Burma tour was inspirational in terms of the different cultures in the states that we visited, the religious buildings (Buddahs, Temples, Monasteries) and the activities and adventures undertaken. I was so pleased to be able to see this country while it is still developing and progressing after years of repression and before the tourism industry takes it over (5 million tourists expected in 2015). There were only three of us on the tour and we were all over 60 years of age! Being used to a lot of walking and other exercise at home I was able to climb steps and get on and off boats quite easily but the other two ladies in their 70's struggled a bit sometimes particularly with the "light" trekking in Kalaw. However, they were very determined and managed most activities.

The organisation of the tour ran smoothly and the first guide who met us at Yangon airport (Win) was helpful and informative when we were seeing various sights in the city. He also gave us quite a lot of information about Buddism in order that we could understand the reasons for so many archeological religious buildings.

The guide who met us at Mandalay was also very helpful and knowledgeable about the area and various stupas and temples. He noticed that the two older ladies needed help at times and was very helpful in getting them on and off boats.

The 11 hour boat trip from Mandalay to Bagan was very pleasant but too long and I think the concensus of opinion was that we would have rather have flown to Bagan and had more time for further sightseeing. The food on board was not very good and stomach upsets ensued!

We were met by our Bagan guide (whose name escapes me!) who was probably the most knowledgeable and helpful of all our guides. He took particular care to help the two older ladies in Kawlaw and when they decided not to attempt the steps at Mt Popa temple, he ensured that they were well looked after by the bus driver. He had a good sense of humour and kept us all cheerful. We were very sad to say goodbye to him at the jetty of Inle Lake but was then looked after by yet another guide (Sai) for the day. He gave us information of the Lake and accompanied us to the restaurant, a monastery and silk making factory before taking us to our water world hotel. At the end of our stay at Inle Lake, we were met by a Columbus driver who took us to Heho Airport for the return journey to Yangon.

Cost wise the tour was fairly expensive compared to the Vietnam/Cambodia tour as there were no meals included (apart from breakfast) and there were 5 guides to tip!! However, I appreciate that it is early days for tourism and that hotel costs may still be expensive. We were asked by OntheGo to take USD as there were no ATM's in the country but this was not correct in our experience. The restaurants/hotels were quite fussy about the state of the dollar bills and I had some refused on one or two occasions. Luckily I had no money stolen on this tour but there was an attempt to cut the strap of my shoulder bag whilst we were at the Indein market at Inle Lake which I discovered when getting back into the boat.

Altogether I loved this country and would return for a further tour should the north and western areas be more accessable in the future.

• Submitted 02 May 2015
Tour
Guide
Country

In Brief

Range
Trip Type
Starts
Yangon
Ends
Yangon
Departs
Saturdays
Hotel Rating
3 - 4 star
Local Payment
None
Tour Guide
Yes - escorted by a tour guide for groups of 6 or more
Meals
Breakfast: 11, Lunch: 2, Dinner: 1
Visiting
Countries
Updated
12th October 2017

Tour Bolt-ons

Enhance your trip with these amazing added extras and bolt-ons

Tun was a great help in dealing with Thai Airway when they lost my luggage. He was also an excellent guide with a great knowledge of all things Burmese and a good friend by the end of the tour. I (and the rest of the tour group) couldn’t recommend him highly enough.

Stephen Ranson