Discover a treasure trove of cultural wonders on this adventure around Myanmar. As you travel from Yangon to Bagan to Inle Lake, you'll be immersed in rich local culture and see incredible sites, including Shwedagon Pagoda, floating gardens, and traditional villages in Loikaw, a region only recently opened to tourism.

Highlights

  • Visit Shwedagon Pagoda in Yangon
  • Boat past the floating gardens of Lake Inle
  • See Buddha statues inside the caves of Pindaya
  • Explore native villages in Loikaw

Brief Itinerary

Day Highlights Overnight
Day 1 Yangon: Arrival & explore the city by car, on foot & by train Yangon
Day 2 Yangon: Spiritual Shwedagon + Flight to Bagan Bagan
Day 3 Bagan: Hot Air Balloon Flight + Explore ancient temples and villages Bagan
Day 4 Bagan: Visit Salay Bagan
Day 5 Fly to Heho, drive to Pindaya and Inle Lake Inle Lake
Day 6 Inle Lake & Indein discovery by boat Inle Lake
Day 7 Inle Lake - Samkar- Loikaw Loikaw
Day 8 Loikaw: Artisans Trail Loikaw
Day 9 Fly Loikaw to Yangon Yangon
Day 10 International Departure  

Detailed Itinerary

Day 1: Yangon: Arrival & Explore the City by Car, on food & by Train

Yangon

 

Welcome to Myanmar! After clearing customs at Yangon International Airport, your guide will be waiting to greet you. Transfer into town (30-40 minutes depending on traffic) and check in to your hotel. Your hotel will be booked the night before, so you can go immediately to your room for a rest after your arrival.

After a leisurely breakfast, meet with your guide for a full day exploring Yangon. The former capital and country's largest city offers a rich blend of heritage, culture, and charm. Explore the diversity of downtown with its colonial buildings, leafy side streets and bustling street markets. Pop into the famed Strand Hotel for a cup of tea or coffee before returning to the riverside to check out the action along the Yangon River. 

During the day, you will visit Sule Pagoda and the city’s tranquil lakes, then stop for a delicious local lunch before going for a ride on a slow-moving circular train. In the evening, continue to Shwedagon Pagoda to observe an oil lamp lighting ceremony.

Day 2: Yangon: Spiritual Shwedagon + Flight to Bagan

Sightseeing in Yangon

Spend an insightful morning in and around Myanmar’s most holy site: Shwedagon Pagoda. The excursion will teach you about the beliefs of the Myanmar people and put you in touch with the culture as you make donations to monks, meet a fortune teller, and walk around the pagoda and its surrounding neighborhood. 

After lunch, continue to the airport for the domestic flight to Bagan, where your local guide will be waiting to transfer you to the hotel.

Days 3-4: Bagan Hot Air Balloon Flight, Ancient Temples, Day Trip to Salay

The temples of Bagan from the perspective of a hot air balloon

Ready for an aerial adventure? You'll be picked up early this morning by a hot air balloon company and transferred to their launch site. Enjoy a cup of coffee while the crew prepares the balloon for flight. After a safety briefing from the pilot, climb into the basket and take off for a memorable sunrise flight over Bagan. About 45 minutes later, you'll touch down and finish the flight with a champagne toast, a ballooning tradition. Then return to your hotel for breakfast. 

Then meet your guide. You'll spend the day exploring Bagan's incredible archaeological wonders. This is best done by bicycle or electric bike, which allow you to utilize the network of small lanes that criss-cross the temple plains. Explore famous sites as well as some hidden gems tucked away in and around the region's villages.

Set off on day four for Salay, a charming town located hours south of Bagan. On the way, stop in Chauk to see the bustling morning market where locals come daily to buy spices, fresh produce, and more. Arrive in Salay and spend the morning exploring the town's remarkable architecture, including the 12th-century Yoke Saung Kyaung teak monastery and an array of fading colonial buildings. Enjoy lunch at Salay House, then return to Bagan in the late afternoon. 

Day 5: Fly to Heho, Drive to Pindaya and Inle Lake

Buddha statues in Pindaya's caves
Buddha statues in Pindaya's caves

Say farewell to Bagan this morning as you board a domestic flight to Heho, adjacent to the Shan Hills, one of the most scenic parts of Myanmar. Your guide will be waiting to greet you. Take a scenic drive to Pindaya, a small town inhabited by the Danu people. The drive takes you past farmland and fields, with plenty of great opportunities for photos. In town, visit a local workshop where craftspeople make incredible handmade umbrellas and paper, then explore Pindaya's famous caves. These limestone caverns are filled with thousands of Buddha statues.

After lunch, you'll continue on to Nyaung Shwe, a town on the edge of Inle Lake, and check in to your hotel. The evening is free for relaxing or exploring the area. 

Day 6: Inle Lake & Indein Discovery by Boat

Traditional fishing methods on Inle Lake

Your guide will greet you at the hotel this morning and take you on a short walk to the hotel jetty, where you'll board a  wooden motorboat for an excursion on Inle Lake. Start with a visit to the market, wandering amid the vibrant and colorful stalls. Explore villages built on stilts and floating gardens, getting a chance to learn about the life and culture of the lake’s residents.

In the afternoon, visit a local weaving shop or visit Phaung Daw Oo Pagoda, a sacred pagoda. You'll also have the option to visit Indein, a stupa-covered hill on the western shores of the lake, before returning to your hotel late in the afternoon.

Day 7: Inle Lake - Samkar- Loikaw

Copper bells in Taung Kwe Pagoda, Loikaw
Copper bells in Taung Kwe Pagoda, Loikaw

After breakfast, set off on a memorable journey to the southern end of Inle Lake and Loikaw. First you'll cross the main body of water, then you'll reach the southern waters of Inle Lake—it's much quieter here than it is on the main part of the lake, so sit back and relax.

Stop along the way at Sagar, a town famous for its sunken stupas: they're partially submerged in water. Along the way, you'll visit a village known for making rice wine. After lunch, continue to Loikaw, traveling the last part of the journey by road. Check into your hotel late this afternoon and, if time allows, take a short visit around town.

Day 8: Loikaw Artisans Trail

Kayan Padaung women wearing bronze coils
Kayan Padaung women wearing bronze coils

Today, you'll join a community-based tourism initiative to discover the area around Loikaw. Your local guide will greet you and transfer you by car to Pan Phet, a collection of five villages inhabited mostly by the Kayan ('Long Neck Padaung') people.

Spend the day trekking from village to village, stopping to enjoy the views, learn about the farming techniques of the Kayan people, and interacting with locals. You'll have a chance to learn about the women's signature bronze coils, too, and see how they're made. After a simple but filling picnic lunch, continue to other villages and observe weavers using cloth and bamboo to craft traditional items.

Day 9: Fly Loikaw to Yangon

Colorful architecture in Yangon
Colorful architecture in Yangon

An early flight takes you back to Yangon. Spend the day sightseeing and visiting art galleries, markets and more.

Day 10: International Departure

After breakfast, your driver will take you to the international airport for your onward flight. Safe travels!