The Very Best of Myanmar
- Culture & Heritage
Day 1: Arrival in Yangon
Day 2: Yangon – Mandalay Ancient Capital
Day 3: Mandalay – Embark On River Cruise
Day 4: Cruise To Yandabo
Day 5: Disembark In Bagan – Temple Plain
Day 6: Bagan Local Life
Day 7: Bagan – Fly To Heho – Kalaw Sightseeing
Day 8: Kalaw Elephant Camp
Day 9: Kalaw – Inle Lake Sightseeing
Day 10: Inle Cooking Class – Indein
Day 11: Heho – Fly Back To Yangon – Kyaikhitiyo
Day 12: Kyaikhitiyo – Bago – Yangon
Day 13: Yangon City Tour
Day 14: Departure Yangon
Mingalabar! Welcome to Yangon, Myanmar.
Upon arrival at Yangon Airport, your private guide and driver are waiting to meet you, holding up a welcome signboard with your names on it and take you directly to your hotel in the downtown. While every effort is made to have your room available upon arrival, check-in time is at 02:00 pm; your room may or may not be ready before this time. Your tour guide will provide additional details regarding your stay, and you will be able to ask any questions you may have. The rest of the day is at leisure.
If we arrive in the morning, we have time to visit the world-famous golden Shwedagon Pagoda in the afternoon, a breath-taking and colorful sight visited by Buddhists from all over Myanmar.
Evening culture show with dinner at Karaweik palace in Kandawgyi Park
Overnight in Yangon.
Early morning transfer to Yangon’s Mingaladon Airport for the flight to Mandalay.
Upon arrival, our tour guide and private car pick up from the airport for a full day sightseeing. The day begins with a visit to the 18th-century capital, Amarapura. Attend the daily meal of over a thousand monks at the country’s largest monastery Mahagandayon. Visit a silk weaving workshop, the craft specialty of Amarapura.
Proceed to Ava, the capital from 14th to 18th centuries and visit by horse and carriage the old wooden Bagaya Monastery and the remains of the Royal Palace and fort.
In the afternoon visit the Kuthodaw Pagoda with its 729 marble stone slabs of Buddhist scriptures (known as the world’s biggest book), Shwenandaw Monastery, noted for its exquisite woodcarving and the impressive Kyauktawgyi Pagoda with it’s huge sitting Buddha.
Enjoy the sunset from Mandalay Hill.
Overnight in Mandalay.
After breakfast, transfer to the jetty for an overnight cruise tour in Irrawaddy River. The embarkation time is 12.00 noon at Gawein jetty and cast off after half an hour’s time.
Welcome Cocktail and briefing in the Saloon or Sundeck followed by Lunch. After cruising upstream for two hours we arrive at the Mingun Pagoda Complex. Our English speaking manager (or your private guide) will accompany the guests during the visit.
Moor Overnight at a sandbank mid-stream. After dinner guests can enjoy a Dance and Drama performance by the Mandalay Arts School on the sundeck (if available).
Overnight on cruise
Early in the morning cruise downstream. During the two hours journey, the passengers can admire the natural beauty of the river and the life of its banks while relaxing on the sundeck or just sitting outside their own cabin. Enjoy the sunrise over Sagaing Hill.
After breakfast passengers wishing to visit Sagaing can go ashore with the assistance of our Ship Manager or their own guide. We resume our downriver voyage at 10.30 hrs and we will sail all day long.
In the late afternoon, we stop at Yandabo, a village specializing in Pot-Making, where the peace treaty of the First Anglo-Burmese war was signed on Feb. 24, 1826. We visit the Pot workshops and the monastery. Moor overnight near the village of Shwe Nann Tint.
Overnight on cruise
Cast off early in the morning for the last leg of our journey. Enjoy the sunrise near Bagan. Passengers will disembark at Thar Yar Waddy Jetty around 9:30 hrs.
Our private car and tour guide pick up from jetty and start a full day sightseeing of Bagan features the colorful Nyaung Oo Market, the Shwezigon Pagoda, and its magnificent golden stupa, Wetkyi-In Gubyaukgyi, a cave temple with exquisite jatakas murals paintings and the elegant Htilominlo Temple noted for its fine plaster carvings and glazed sandstone decorations.
In the afternoon, visit Ananda, an architectural masterpiece of the early-style temple with two original standing Buddha images whose facial expression change depending on the distance the statue is viewed from. The Ananda Okkyaung is one of the few surviving brick monasteries from the early Bagan period and the next temple to be visited, Thatbyinnyu, is the highest in Bagan, rising to 61 meters.
End the day with a horse and carriage tour among the temples passing by the traditional village of Taungbi, Sulamani Temple, and the massive Dhammayangyi Temple noted for its remarkable brickwork.
Enjoy the sunset on the mighty Irrawaddy river by slow cruise.
Overnight in Bagan.
Optional: In the early morning, we take a sunrise balloon flight over the plains of Bagan. From above looking down, Bagan is beautiful as a watercolor picture. Along two banks of the gentle Ayeyarwady River are small villages hiding in the bamboo trees. The top of golden pagodas glistens under the sunlight. The flight surely gives you an interesting and unheard-of experience of the country of Myanmar.
After breakfast at the hotel, proceed to Myinkaba village and observe the process of traditional lacquerware, one of the best-known Myanmar handicrafts and a specialty of Bagan. Visit the monuments of Myinkaba village, Gubyaukkhi, an early period Pyu-style temple of Hindu influence with some of the oldest mural paintings in Bagan, Manuha, and Nanpaya temples.
In the afternoon, enjoy an excursion to the countryside village Shwe Hlaing and enjoy the local cooking school restaurant before the visit of Minnanthu, and the least visited temple area in Bagan. Observe the local farmers‘way of life together with a visit to some of the most interesting temples such as Payathonzu, with its unusual architecture and Tantric Buddhism influence, Lemyethna, and Nandamannya temples.
Enjoy the sunset from the top watching sunset area.
Overnight in Bagan.
Transfer to the airport for domestic flight to Heho in Shan State.
On arrival, get a pick up to Kalaw, the hill station that remains the charm of British Colonial with styled houses and gardens. Our tour guide will show you the uniqueness of this town and surely you will like the weather here.
Overnight in Kalaw.
After breakfast, take a 1-hour drive to Green Hill Valley Elephant Camp in Kalaw, we start a day to visit elephant in Magwe Village and walk to the camp
Take a light refreshment. Walk to the river to the Elephant bath. We can join in feeding and bathing the elephants.
Exploration of the forest area, opportunity to see butterflies, birds, and orchids in the area.
Lunch in the main camp. After lunch, we can explore the surrounding area with a local trekking guide
We are also welcome to join them in planting indigenous trees from their nursery in our forest recovery efforts
Back to Elephant camp and drive back to Kalaw, the hill station that remains the charm of British Colonial with styled houses and gardens. Upon arrival, our tour guide will show us the uniqueness of this town and surely you will like the weather here.
Overnight in Kalaw.
After breakfast, take around 1h30m drive down into the valley to Nyaung Shwe on the edge of Inle Lake.
During today’s excursion by boat on picturesque Inle Lake we see the famous leg rowers, the typical floating gardens where fruit and vegetables are grown, local methods of fishing, and village life. A highlight is often visiting the traditional village of Paukpar, with its neat rows of bamboo houses and where we may be able to stop and visit a family for Shan tea.
In the afternoon, we visit Phaung Daw Oo Pagoda, the holiest religious site in southern Shan State and the boat construction workshop at Nampan village as well as stopping to see some traditional handicrafts – silk weaving on wooden handlooms in Inpawkon village, a cheroot workshop and a blacksmith shop. Continue by boat to visit Nga Phe Kyaung Monastery (Jumping cats), one of the oldest monasteries on the lake and where inside its large wooden meditation hall and are over 200-year-old ancient Buddha statues. Returning back to the hotel the beauty of the sunset over Inle Lake enchants all visitors.
Overnight in Inle Lake/ Nyaung Shwe.
After breakfast, our tour guide picks you up from the hotel and takes a boat to cooking class.
Our cooking classes take us through the experiences of sourcing Inle ingredients, some exclusive to the lake, at the local market. Then we will be learning to prepare real traditional dishes exclusive to the region either in our cooking classrooms or out as a guest in the real kitchen in the local community.
Upon arrival, guests will receive welcome drinks (Shan tea, fresh juices). They will then show the guests the cooking area. Next, the chef of the Inthar Heritage House will present us with the menu, give details about the class, ingredients, and cooking methods. After this introduction, they will show us their vegetable gardens and pick the ingredients for the meal. Back in the kitchen, we will clean the vegetables and start cooking, with step-by-step teaching of their chef. As soon as dessert is ready, we can sit down and enjoy the meal.
The Inthar Heritage restaurant is part of the Inle Heritage Foundation, which promotes the heritage of Inle cultures and supports the sustainable development of the Inle region. During the guided visit we will show you conservation and preservation activities (Burmese Cats, Species aquarium), the Vocational Training Center (environment-friendly agriculture).
Guided visit hours (start at): 01:30 pm, the visit takes approximately 1 hour.
Continue our excursion by motorized boat to Indein pagoda complex, in the south-west of the lake. The boat leaves the lake and enters a narrow canal with a beautiful natural environment to continue to a small Pa O tribe village. From the village, follow an old covered path to a 13th-century monastery and the very impressive ruins of hundreds of ancient pagodas, some hidden in the vegetation. The main stupa-area on the top of the hill offers breathtaking views over the surrounding mountains and down to the valley and the lake in the far distance.
Overnight in Inle Lake/ Nyaung Shwe.
After breakfast, transfer from Nyaung Shwe to Heho airport for a morning flight back to Yangon.
Upon arrival Yangon, enjoy a scenic journey by road to Kyaikhtiyo, 190km to the east. One of Myanmar’s great pilgrimage sites is the Golden Rock at Kyaikhtiyo, a huge boulder covered by gold leaf and delicately balanced on the edge of a cliff. The pagoda at the Golden Rock is said to hold a hair of the Buddha.
Late morning, arrive at Kyaikhtiyo base camp and transfer to the transit junction with one of the small open trucks in a 1-hour ride.
After lunch, start an easy one-hour walk up to the Golden Rock and enjoy the sunset from this unforgettable site.
Overnight in Kyaikhtiyo.
After breakfast, return to the base-camp by open truck and head in the direction of Yangon for 110km to Bago, an ancient capital dating back to the 6th century.
Sightseeing in Bago includes the beautiful 55 meters long reclining Buddha called Shwethalyaung and the Mon style Shwemawdaw Pagoda, one of the most venerated in Myanmar. Its spire stands 114m high and is taller even than the Shwedagon Pagoda. Visit also the old Palace “Kambozathadi” and the huge 4 sitting Buddha’s “Kyaikpun”.
Return by road to Yangon, visiting the Allied War Cemetery near Htaukkyan, the final resting place for over 27,000 allied soldiers, and a local woven bamboo factory.
Transfer back to Yangon at the end of the day.
Overnight in Yangon.
After breakfast, drive to the train station for the train ride for about 1 hour. Enjoy the real lifestyle of locals and see the beautiful scenes. Then, enjoy a private tour and drive through downtown to explore the city center and its fabulous mix of architecture and sites. The streets are filled with historical buildings many of which have a faded colonial charm not seen elsewhere in Asia.
After that, discover Kabaaye Pagoda or mostly known as “World Peace Pagoda “and “The Great Cave” – Maha Pasana in the ground. Take a look at Gems Museum where displays famous precious stones of Myanmar. Visit Chauk Htat Gyi Pagoda, famous for an impressive reclining Chauk Htat Gyi Buddha Image
Come back to the downtown for a lunch at Shwe Sa Bwe restaurant, a social enterprise that trains and employs underprivileged youth to provide a step up in life.
After lunch, our car takes us to the National Museum. After that, take a rickshaw tour around the colonial area with the historical buildings that will start, breaking at a local teashop to enjoy Burmese tea and the typical atmosphere.
Continue by rickshaw along the famous Strand Road and visit the bustling Yangon harbor.
Overnight in Yangon.
After breakfast, a fleet of microbuses and guides will be available outside the hotel for guests who would like to do some last-minute shopping or complete their cultural visit of Yangon exploring colonial downtown.
Then take the drive to Mingaladon International Airport to check in on your onward flight.
End of services.
This tour is built upon our firsthand knowledge & experience, offering you the best choices available. The price of this trip varies depending on the number of people in your party, dates of departure, and availability of ground services. Please click on REQUEST A FREE QUOTE (above) and supply the required information, enabling us to send you your personalized quote within 24 hours!
Note: Amendments CAN be made to this tour to suit your requirements.
- Accommodation with daily breakfast at selected hotels
- Private Vehicles and Drivers
- Private English Speaking Guides (Other languages if available, upon request)
- Meals as mentioned in the itinerary (B= Breakfast, L= Lunch, D= Dinner)
- Domestic flights within Myanmar
- Entrance fees for all mentioned sights visited
- Service Charge & Government Taxes
What’s Not Included?
- Your International Flights to and from Myanmar
- Myanmar entry Visa Fees (contact us for further information)
- Personal Expenses (such as laundry, telephone, drinks, etc.)
- Any bank fees or charges at your end
- Meals other than those mentioned in the itinerary
- Personal Travel Insurance
- Tips for guides and drivers
Free service. No credit card required
Reviews on Our Service
We are committed to giving our customers unforgettable experiences in Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia and beyond, not just something staged for tourists. Read reviews written by our customers about their experiences in Indochina after they have returned home. These include the ratings and comments on attractions, guides, activities, hotels and food.
Vietnam Luxury Vacation Review: Sightseeing, Culture, 12-Day Travel
Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh City, Sightseeing, Rice Fields, Boat Rides, 18-Day Trip
We started searching for our tour for Vietnam / Cambodia back in October 2022 to start the tour in the first week of January 2023. We selected this travel agency, and contact name provided to us was Elly. She was extraordinary with her communication with us. Excellent English speaking language capability & excellent in communication on Whats app and email communication. We went back & forth few times to arrange the tour we wanted. She was very accommodating in arranging our schedule. We requested automobile tour for both countries, just for two of us.
We requested SUV FOR OUR COMFORT AND WE GOT IT!
We requested to get the high end hotel in each city and she gave us choices and not only that but send videos of each hotel for each City and then waited for us to decide which hotel we select. All the Hotels turned out to be one of the best we would expect to be. M/s Elly, personally came to visit with us on the evening of our first day tour. Very respectful and asked if she could do anything for us.I had requested before in our communication, if she would arrange for power converter for us, since my camera chargers are all in 110. So brought two power converters for us! Something, not everyone will do this kind of service. So all the kiddos to her!
as to the drivers in each city were very courteous, very professional and very careful in how and where they have to do driving.
our Guides in each city were so friendly, courteous and knowledgeable in where ever we visited. How ever wish two guides in Hue An and Ho Chi Minh City spoke English more clearly.
We only wish we had one extra day in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City, , however, there is so much to see in the world! Perhaps next time will visit Vietnam.
As to Cambodia, same thing to express about site seeing and our Guide and drivers. Guides and drivers really made our travel thro’ the countries where we do not speak that language, made it so comfortable and enjoyable.
Hi Lam…hope you don’t mind me contacting you directly. My wife Barb & I (Paul) have just arrived home after completing a great tour of Vietnam which was organised through your company Asia Pioneer Travel.
We want to tell you personally how impressed were were with the level of service that we received…it was amazing and the best that we have experienced anywhere. After we made initial contact with you, you handed us over to Chloe to arrange the trip which she did in very quick time and the amount of detail that she went to was fantastic. From the moment that we walked out of Hanoi airport on arrival to see our guide waiting, we knew that we were in for a great trip. The drivers & guides were fantastic and Chloe was in contact by email constantly making sure that everything was going to plan & that we were happy. At one stage we need to vary the itinerary by extending accommodation & changing air tickets and Chloe did that without any fuss or bother.
We also met some wonderful Vietnamese people along the way and Ive got to say that they are our kind of people, very generous & friendly.
Enough of my ramblings, thanks for a great visit to Vietnam, and a special thank you to Chloe for looking after us in such a terrific manner…she is a very special caring lady.
Kind regards & I hope that we have the opportunity to use Asia Pioneer Travel again….Paul & Barb Little from Newcastle Australia
Superbly organised and very flexible
We travelled to Vietnam for two weeks, booking the whole trip through Lizzie at Asia Pioneer, including hotels, excursions, trips, guides and internal flights. Lizzie was so helpful and flexible, accommodating changes to our schedule until the last minute, especially as we missed our connecting flight in Dubai and arrived a day later than planned (our fault). Nothing was too much trouble, including getting my wallet back to me after I left it in the car taking us to the airport.
We started in Hanoi in the North and worked our way south to Ho Chi Minh city (Saigon), taking in Ha Long with its amazing sea stacks and sleeping on a boat, then to Sa Pa on the overnight sleeper train from Hanoi, with its wonderful countryside and rice terraces. Afterwards, we went to Hoi An for three days of relaxation. Hoi An probably my favourite place and three days are enough to cover it. Then onto Hue, the original capital, my least favourite place and then finally on to HMC, which was a real contrast to the North.
The 3-star hotels that Lizzie picked were very good and comfortable, and the guides were very knowledgeable. I would definitely use Asia Pioneer again for future Asia trips.