Details

Unique Experiences:

•  Make the most of your time in Burma, and explore the offbeat and classic highlights in only 16 days
•  Have soft landing in Yangon, and experience the colourful market where you offer alms to monks
•  Go offbeat to the remote Shan State – trek the mountains and meet the smiling locals
•  Tick off the essential Burma highlights – the floating gardens of Inle Lake, an introduction to the Burmese cuisine, the amazing temples of Bagan, and the charm of Kipling’s Mandalay

Participants:

Small Group Exploration spiced with Shared Group Experiences – normally no more than 2-5 people on the overall tour and max 8., yet part of the itinerary/day tours are Shared Group Experiences, and can have more people:
Bike Tour in Mandalay: Up to 10 participants
Cooking Class in Inle Lake: Up to 6 participants
Note that you can book 1 person on this program, but we cannot guarantee more participants on the overall tour.

Trip Length: 16 Day(s) 15 Night(s)
Tour Departure Dates: Monday, Wednesday and Friday every week
Travel Season:

The best time to visit is from November to February when it is dry and temperatures are at their lowest at around 20-25 degrees. At nighttime the temperatures can fall to lower than 10 Degrees in December and January whereas from March to May the temperature can rise to above 40 degrees! The rainy season runs from the end of May until the end of September, and it can bring heavy and regular rainfall.
All seasons have their benefits, please ask us if in doubt.

Type of Transportation: Public bus/car, private car, bicycle, private boat, local taxi
Type of Accommodation: 13 nights in standard rooms with aircon and private bathroom and toilet.2 nights in local overnight bus from Yangon to Hsipaw & Pyin Oo Lwin to Nyaungshwe.
Physical Rate: 3/5
Child Policy:

Child age: 2-12 years
Child price: Refer to rates
Please be aware of: Life vest will be provided on the boat trips/transfers included in the trip. Trekking and biking is generally not recommended for children below 11 years. As an alternative horse cart or tuk tuk can be arranged at no extra charge. Please let us know in advance to allow for arrangement.

Included in Price:

Meals: 13 x breakfast, 1 x lunch
Accommodation: 2 nights in overnight bus & 13 nights at various hotels in standard rooms
Transportation: Yangon – Hsipaw – Kyaukme – Pyin Oo Lwin – Nyaungshwe – Bagan – Mandalay. Various tours and transfers according to itinerary.
Tours/Explorations: According to itinerary.

There is no overall guide on the tour. There will be drivers who speak basic English and English-speaking tour guides on the pre-organized day tours (only) according to itinerary.

Excluded from Price:

•  Travel Insurance (Compulsory)
•  Drinks
•  Meals not mentioned as included in the itinerary
•  Tips to the guides
•  Tours and activities not mentioned in the itinerary
•  Entrance fees, where applicable
•  Visa to Myanmar
•  Onwards journey from Mandalay
•  Self-transfers and free day transportation highlighted in the itinerary

All other expenses not stated as included in the above

Map

Locations Visited:
Yangon, Hsipaw, Kyaukme, Pyin Oo Lwin, Inle Lake, Bagan, Mandalay
Start City:
Yangon
End City:
Mandalay

Itinerary

Day 1: Yangon
Yangon. It oozes of exotic spices, the British colonial era and years in solitude. Now, a good mix of past and present, so clearly of Asian heritage and so very much its own. After being transferred from the airport, spend the rest of your day wandering Yangon’s downtown on your own. Take in the city from above by climbing Sakura Tower where you will find a restaurant on the 22nd floor. Or simply stroll the city roads to get closer to life at street level.

Practicalities:
Accommodation: Overnight at central hotel in Yangon.
Transport and Guide: Your guide will meet you in Yangon airport and transfer you to your hotel (remember to make us aware of your arrival time and details in advance).

Day 2: Yangon – Hsipaw. Spend the day in Yangon on a morning tour of the markets, give alms to the monks and have mohinga for breakfast.
What’s happening in the streets of Yangon when most other people are still sleeping or taking their shower? You’re going to find out soon. Your guide will take you through the morning traffic to Yangon's main fish market. Located on the Yangon River, the offloading point is alive 24 hours a day and will also be bustling when you arrive. Chilly ice block trucks, fish piled in colorfull plastic baskets and hard working young guys making their way through the market with today's catch.
Continue to a 24 hours open vegetable market and try the famous Burmese breakfast called Mohinga (a mild fish soup with noodles and crackers). By that time the monks are walking through the streets of Yangon to collect their alms and you will wait for them to pass and donate a bit of food to them. Walk through the fruit and vegetable market before heading back to your hotel (around 09:30 am) to have your full western breakfast.

You will need to check out at 12:00 and you can store your luggage at the hotel until your pick up at 14:00. Here you will be transferred to Yangon bus station, from where your bus departs at 17:00 towards Hspiaw. Spend the night on board the bus.

Practicalities:
Meals: Breakfast included.
Accommodation: Overnight aircon bus.
Transport and Guide: For the morning tour, your guide will pick you up at 06:30 and together you go by van to the markets. For the bus to Hsipaw, you will be picked up from your hotel in Yangon at 14:00 and transferred to Yangon bus station. Your public overnight aircon bus departs at 17:00. Expected arrival in Hsipaw tomorrow at 06:00 in the morning.
Transport not included: Transport during your free day explorations.

Day 3: Hsipaw (Shan State). Walking tour to get a peek behind the facade of the city.
As you arrive Hsipaw it will be just in time for the perfect sunrise over the Shan State. Still a bit tired you will appreciate a pre-arranged Tuk Tuk to take you to your hotel. To rest your head for a couple of hours before new adventures are rolled out in front of you.
When you are ready, your guide will take you on a 3-hour walking tour. To give you a fine introduction to and share his knowledge of a city and state that only few travellers will visit. Get behind the scene of this once Shan Royal city and appreciate the slowness, the tribal culture and the change in ambience.
After your walk the rest of the day is free for you to explore the city further.

Practicalities:
Accommodation: Overnight at hotel in Hsipaw (early check-in possible).
Transport and Guide: You will be picked up by Tuk Tuk (driver will have your name at a signboard) at Hsipaw bus station (arrival around 06:00) and transferred to your hotel.

Day 4: Hsipaw. Free day for self-explorations.
A free day just for you. And the dusty Shan town of Hsipaw is the right spot to have enough free time. Most travellers love the ambience here, the early morning mist that surrounds the landscape until the sun takes over, novice monks walking the morning streets collecting alms. The splendid market with a fine mix of ethnic minorities. Just a short stroll out of town and beauty explodes. Fine small monasteries, life along the river, the fine rolling hills. Hsipaw is close to magic.

Practicalities:
Meals:
Breakfast is included.
Accommodation: Overnight at hotel in Hsipaw.
Transport not included: Any transportation used on your free day explorations in Hsipaw. If you want to rent a motorbike or Tuk Tuk expect to pay around 15.000 Kyat for a day.

Day 5: Hsipaw – Kyaukme. Trekking in the hills around Kyaukme, past tea plantations and into remote villages.
Go for an adventurous yet short ride on a local bus, which will bring you to Kyaukme, a village known for its unspoilt trekking options. From Kyaukme, trek into the remoteness of the Shan and Palaung hill villages. Into the rolling green hills covered in mist. With tea plantations as far as the eye can see, village people caring for the fields, picking the tealeaves when the time is just right. Wave to curious kids and give hand to friendly locals on the way. This is a day that truly will take you away from the tourist trail and into the Burmese life in the hill country, to life as it is really lived.

Practicalities:
Meals: Breakfast and lunch included.
Accommodation: Overnight at hotel in Kyaukme.
Transport and Guide: Local bus from Hsipaw to Kyaukme. Your local hotel host will walk you to the bus station where your seat is arranged in advanced (no ticket).
 
Day 6: Kyaukme – Pyin Oo Lwin (May Myo). A slow-paced train ride taking you across the stunning Goteik Bridge.
On you go to one of your biggest Shan State adventures. A slow-paced train ride from Kyaukme to Pyin Oo Lwin, taking you across Goteik Bridge, one of Burma’s most stunning manmade marvels. Built by the British more than 100 years ago it is the highest bridge in Burma, stretching almost 700 meters across the viaduct below.
It is not the fastest mode of transport, but definitely the most beautiful. You will disembark in Pyin Oo Lwin or Maymyo as it is also named. This was the hill station that the British withdrew to during colonial days, when the heat got too overwhelming in Mandalay. Though the town has developed Pyin Oo Lwin still has some of its old ambience, and a lively market, and the nostalgic yet famous horse drawn carriages. Pyin Oo Lwin has some lovely parks and orchards, and in summer there is an abundance of fruits for sale. A fine place to explore for the curious soul.

Practicalities:
Meals: Breakfast is included.
Accommodation: Overnight at hotel in Pyin Oo Lwin.
Transport and Guide: Remember to get your train tickets in the morning, either delivered by your guide or waiting for you in the hotel reception. Your train leaves from Kyaukme station at 11:30 and is expected to arrive in Pyin Oo Lwin around 16:00 (delay happens).
Transport not included: Self-transfer from your hotel in Kyaukme to Kyaukme train station. We recommend going by motorbike or Tuk Tuk, which normally takes around 10 minutes and costs around 3000 Kyat.
Self-transfer from Pyin Oo Lwin train station to your Pyin Oo Lwin hotel. We recommend going by motorbike or Tuk Tuk, which normally takes around 15 minutes and costs around 3000 Kyat.

Day 7: Pyin Oo Lwin (May Myo) – Nyaungshwe. Free day in Pyin Oo Lwin before your late afternoon bus departs.
The morning is free for you to explore the city.
In the afternoon, transfer on your own to Pyin Oo Lwin bus station to take the night bus to Nyaung Shwe (Inle Lake).

Practicalities:
Meals: Breakfast is included.
Accommodation: Overnight in bus.
Transport and Guide: Remember to get your bus tickets, either delivered by your guide or waiting for you in the hotel reception. Your bus leaves from Pyin Oo Lwin bus station at 16:30 and is expected to arrive in Nyaungshwe around 05:00 in the morning.
Transport not included: Self-transfer from your hotel to Pyin Oo Lwin bus station. We recommend going by motorbike or Tuk Tuk, which normally takes around 15-20 minutes and costs around 8000 Kyat.

Day 8: Nyaungshwe (Inle Lake). Free time to hang out in the city
Welcome to Nyaungshwe, the gateway to Inle Lake. Tranquil, beautiful, a place for relaxing after days on the road. Most travellers end up here for days, just to spend hours on a boat with the mountain views, to take in the tea plantations or to explore the fine treks in the area.
Upon arrival at the bus station go to your hotel and know that you have the rest of the day to just settle in, and get to know the city and surroundings.

Practicalities:
Accommodation: Overnight at hotel in Nyaungshwe.
Transport not included: Expected arrival at the bus station in Nyaungshwe is 05:00 in the morning. Upon arrival, self-transfer to your hotel. We recommend going by motorbike, which normally takes around 15 minutes and costs around 3000 Kyat.

Day 9: Nyaungshwe (Inle Lake) and cooking class – trying your hands on the Burmese cuisine
Before you head to the lake, take a day to get to know the charming city, to understand it tastes and flavors. And what better way to do so than getting your hands dirty and your stomach full?
Start your introduction to the Shan State cuisine by visiting the local market to buy ingredients for your lunch. Your cooking class will then take place in a garden open-air kitchen where your local teacher helps you to stir up Intha style fish curry, fried vegetables, Shan noodles or fried rice cake and egg curry with tamarind paste. At noon the smells will fill the air and your stomach be ready for the lunch you have cooked yourself. Enjoy in the beautiful garden setting at the bamboo house. This is all a person can wish for.
After the cooking class you will have the rest of the day free. And what a treat for the curious at heart; for the travellers who value time to immerse instead of simply scratching the surface.
The town of Nyaungshwe is not only the gateway to Inle lake, but also a charming city in its own humble right – once the seat of one of the last Shan Princes. Wander the streets of Nyaungshwe to explore the back alleys, life along the main canal and hidden shrines in square compounds.

Practicalities:
Meals: Breakfast is included.
Accommodation: Overnight at hotel in Nyaungshwe.
Transport and Guide: Transport at own arrangement to cooking class. The meeting point you will get from your hotel reception, where ms Sue will leave a message for you.

Day 10: Nyaungshwe and Inle Lake free day to take in the lake or the city scape
Your day is free for you to explore. Rise early and get lost in the Mingala Market, as traders from the lake bring in fresh fish and produce from the floating gardens.
Or spend your free in a boat on the Inle Lake with a 360-degree view of the scenery. Before you the famous one-leg rowers so delicately and quietly manoeuvre their boats. The quietness of the water and the floating gardens as a spellbinding patchwork of blue and green mixed with flowers of white, pink, purple.

Practicalities:

Meals: Breakfast is included.
Accommodation: Overnight at hotel in Nyaungshwe.
Transport not included: Any transportation used on your free day explorations. If you want to rent a boat on Inle Lake expect to pay around 25-30.000 Kyat for a day. For a motorbike or Tuk Tuk in the city expect to pay around 20.000 Kyat for a day.

Day 11: Nyaungshwe – Bagan.
A new day, a new city, new adventures awaits you. Leave Nyaungshwe behind and flow to Bagan, and its magical temple landscape. The journey is part of the adventure, getting close to the locals, learning, interacting. Watching the world go by outside your windows, the teeming life as the bus comes to a halt. Make your transportation and exploration.

Practicalities:
Meals: Breakfast is included.
Accommodation: Overnight at hotel in Bagan.
Transport and Guide: You will have received your bus ticket one day in advance from your guide/at your hotel. Your public aircon bus departs Nyaungshwe at 08:00 and is expected to arrive in Bagan around 17:30.
Transport not included: Self-transfer from your Nyaungshwe hotel to the bus station. We recommend going by motorbike, which normally takes around 15 minutes and costs around 3000 Kyat. Self-transfer from your Bagan bus station to your hotel in Bagan. We recommend going by horse cart, which normally takes around 30 minutes and costs around 15.000 Kyat.

Day 12: Bagan and explorations of the temple ground by bike
Through thousands of temples and pagoda ruins without ends. Spread across the plains of Bagan as a beautiful testament to the religious devotion of Burma’s Buddhists and religious rulers over time it now remains a popular exploration site. Not without a reason. But have it with a twist, a bit of Go Beyond spice. Understand its magnificence through a guide who will explain the history, the legends and the architecture of the temples. To give you the insider perspective to truly appreciate this UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Explore or kick back to relax in the afternoon. Time is on your side and only you decide how to spend it.

Practicalities:
Meals: Breakfast is included.
Accommodation: Overnight at hotel in Bagan.
Transport and Guide: Your guide will bring the bikes to your hotel at 08:00 and depart together.
Entrance: Entrance fee to the Bagan Archaeological Zone is not included. Expect to pay around USD 15.

Day 13: Bagan with free time to immerse yourself in temples and stories from the past
Bagan is impressive and the Archeological Zone covers a vast area. Not to mention the city of Bagan itself well worth some time for strolling the streets. That is why you have a full day at your convenience to do as you please – Explore more temples and go via a different route than what you did yesterday. Enjoy the view over the Irrawaddy River or go wander the streets of Nyaung U. Breath in the colonial charm, the atmospheric village center ambience and the colorful, bustling market.

Practicalities:

Meals: Breakfast is included.
Accommodation: Overnight at hotel in Bagan.
Transport not included: Any transportation used on your free day explorations in Bagan. If you want to rent a horse cart expect to pay around 25.000 Kyat for a day.

Day 14: Bagan – Mandalay. Go overland to Kipling’s colonial Mandalay
Venture from Bagan to Mandalay. Go by public bus and watch the world pass by outside, the local life in the villages and the monks taking their lunch before noon. A given in the Buddhist society so your bus probably stops too, to allow any travelling monks to fulfill their requirement.
Once you have checked in to your hotel the rest of the day is free for you to explore Mandalay. Just the name, Mandalay, has a touch of old colonial days, Kipling, a fragment in a song. But today Mandalay is a modern metropolis, and the Chinese influence is enormous here. The hill above Mandalay is with its fine pagodas and monasteries a pilgrimage place for devoted Buddhists. The cuisine here is fine; the nightlife is possibly the liveliest in Burma. But you can also find small local markets, old teashops, and slowness. And you have the entire afternoon and evening free to explore just that.

Practicalities:
Meals: Breakfast is included.
Accommodation: Overnight at hotel in Mandalay.
Transport and Guide: Remember to pick up your bus ticket from Bagan to Mandalay from the hotel reception before you go. Your public aircon bus leaves from Bagan 08:00 and will arrive in Mandalay around 13:30.
Transport not included: Self-transfer from your hotel in Bagan to the bus station. We recommend going by horse cart, which normally takes around 30 minutes and costs around 8000 Kyat. Self-transfer from Mandalay bus station to your hotel. We recommend going by taxit, which normally takes around 30 minutes and costs around 10.000 Kyat.

Day 15: Mandalay and a magnificent morning bike tour
“Magnificent Mandalay Mornings”. By bike. Escape the hustle and bustle of the dusty city and discover the tranquillity and charm of the Mandalay countryside. You will visit fresh markets, cottage industry, farming villages and return to Mandalay after having made a genuine connection to the Myanmar outskirts, life beyond the cityscape.
You will have the rest of the day at your convenience to explore urban Mandalay. Hire a blue “bemo” and explore the U-Bein bridge for sunset. As the sun casts it last rays and the locals cross the bridge there is no place more beautiful than being in one of the small boats. A magnificent view that will stay with you forever.

Practicalities:
Meals: Breakfast is included.
Accommodation: Overnight at hotel in Mandalay.
Transport and Guide: Transfer by motorbike (your driver may speak limited English) from your hotel to and from the starting point of the bike tour. Bike Mandalay in the morning with your guide. Expect to be back at your hotel around noon.

Day 16: Mandalay. Continue on your own to your next destination.
Wake up for a slow morning, free for you to do as you please. Venture into the small backstreets of sleepy Mandalay. Watch the city come to life, the locals opening up the store gate, and the first mug of tea being stirred.
Remember to check out before 12.00 noon and prepare to leave Burma behind or set of for more Burma explorations.

How about jumping on a direct flight to Chiang Mai, Thailand and spend a few days at ECO Resort? Or fly to Bangkok and head south towards the islands? Or are your ready for more Burma explorations?
We have Travel Advisors in both Bangkok and Chiang Mai ready to inspire you to your onwards journey. Just contact us, and we will empty our backpack of knowledge into yours.

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