This packed itinerary checks off Myanmar's top Buddhist sites. Visit the Shwedagon Pagoda and busy markets in Yangon, explore monasteries in Mon State, and tour the world-famous Bagan archaeological site. Finish your trip in Mandalay to see the splendid former capital Inwa, the world's longest teakwood bridge on Inle Lake, and the 17th-century Indein pagodas.

Highlights

  • Tour Myanmar's holiest Buddhist pagodas, monasteries, and caves
  • Explore the colorful and diverse local cultures, from peaceful Inle Lake to Yangon
  • Visit the precarious Kyaikhtiyo (golden rock), an international pilgrimage site
  • See local handcraft workshops and browse busy city markets for the perfect gifts

Brief Itinerary

Day Highlights Overnight
Day 1 Arriving in Yangon Yangon
Day 2 Wandering in Yangon Yangon
Day 3 Kyaiktiyo (Golden Rock) Kyaiktiyo
Day 4 Sunrise at Golden Rock and drive to Hpa An Hpa An
Day 5 Explore the caves in Hpa An Hpa An
Day 6 Visiting Mawlamyine (Mon State) Yangon
Day 7 Exploring Bagan Archeological sites Bagan
Day 8 Mount Popa, Minanthu and Phwar Saw Bagan
Day 9 From Bagan to Monywa by car Monywa
Day 10 Drive from Monywa to Mandalay and stop to explore Inwa Mandalay
Day 11 Mingun, Mandalay, and Amarapura Mandalay
Day 12 Pindaya and Inle Inle Lake
Day 13 Inle lake on a long-tailed boat Inle Lake
Day 14 Indein sightseeing - Flight to Yangon Yangon
Day 15 Departing from Yangon  

Detailed Itinerary

Day 1: Arriving in Yangon

The Shwedagon Pagoda in Yangon
The Shwedagon Pagoda in Yangon

Welcome to Myanmar, formerly known as Burma! Arrive at Yangon International Airport with a warm greeting by a tour representative, who will transfer you to the hotel. Settle in and relax, and enjoy the rest of the afternoon before a packed two weeks ahead. 

Day 2: Wandering in Yangon

Busy downtown market
Busy downtown market

Start your morning with a tour of the city's highlights. See the Reclining Buddha at Chauk Htet Gyi, a popular destination for Buddhist worshipers, then continue to the National Museum to see historical artifacts and art. 

Afterward, visit the bustling downtown streets to see the remaining British influence on the city. In the afternoon take a walk down Pansodan Street to see the colonial-era buildings.

In the evening head to bustling Bogoyoke Aun San Market to peruse and purchase gifts and souvenirs. The cobblestone streets of the 20th-century bazaar are always packed with tourists and locals doing their shopping. Browse through antiques, Burmese handicrafts and jewelry shops, and art galleries. 

End your day with a visit to the Shwedagon Pagoda, one of Myanmar's most important religious structures and a pilgrimage destination for Buddhists worldwide. 

Day 3: Kyaiktiyo (Golden Rock)

Kyaiktiyo pagoda (golden rock) in Myanmar
Kyaiktiyo Pagoda (golden rock) in Myanmar

In the morning drive north for five hours toward Kyaiktiy, also known as the Golden Rock. The golden rock, which is balanced precariously on top of the mountain's edge, is said to be a well-placed strand of Buddha's hair. 

Catch a ride to the top of the mountain, then finish the journey to the Buddhist site with a 45-minute walk. From here, enjoy the well-earned panoramic views of Mon State

Day 4: Sunrise at Golden Rock and drive to Hpa An

Traditional boats in Hpa-An
Traditional boats in Hpa-An

Rise and shine! Today's adventure begins with an early wakeup call to see the sunrise at Kyaiktiyo. After a light breakfast, descend to the base camp and transfer to Hpa An in time for lunch. Spend the afternoon relaxing and exploring the area. 

Day 5: Explore the caves in Hpa An

Statues and ornate walls inside Sadan Cave
Statues and ornate walls inside Sadan Cave

In the morning visit the base of the holy Mount Zwekabin to see the ornate pagoda and 1,080 hand-sculpted images of Buddha. From the top of the mountain, enjoy panoramic views of Hpa An and the surrounding countryside, then head downhill to see Kyauk Kalap monastery, located in an artificial lake. 

Your next stop is Bayintny, a religious building that is frequented by locals. Stop at caves of Kawgun to see the hundreds of clay Buddhas which line the walls. If there is time, head to Shwe Yin Myaw Pagoda to enjoy the sunset. 

Day 6: Visiting Mawlamyine (Mon State)

Monks at Mawlamyine
Monks at Mawlamyine

After breakfast drive to Mawlamyine, the capital of Mon State and former administrative capital of British Burma. This quiet colonial city is famous for its magnificent pagoda and views of the surrounding area. Rumor has it that Rudyard Kipling was inspired to pen a famous poem after his visit here. 

In the afternoon visit Kyaik Than Lyan Pagoda before driving back to Yangon and transferring to the hotel.

Day 7: Exploring Bagan Archeological sites

Hot air balloons above Bagan
Hot air balloons above Bagan

Early in the morning, transfer to Yangon Domestic Airport for your connecting flight to Nyaung U, the closest airport to Bagan. Your visit to this impressive site starts in the Shwezigon, a prototype which inspired the construction of  Wetkyi-in- Gubyaukgyi, a 13th-century cave temple. Continue to Ananda Pagoda, one of the finest and best-preserved pagodas in Old Bagan. 

See the Ananda Ok Kyaung, one of the few surviving brick monastery buildings from the early Bagan period, and visit Htilominlo, the last Myanmar Style temple built in Bagan.

In the afternoon explore Bagan's impressive pagodas, starting with Sulamani, which was built by King Narapatisithu.  Continue to Dhammayangyi, a massive temple with the finest brickwork in Bagan and towering Thatbyinnyu Temple. Stop to see Abeyadana Temple and its unique Mahayana Buddhist mural before heading to the best location to see a stunning sunset. 

Day 8: Mount Popa, Minanthu and Phwar Saw

Mount Popa at dawn
Mount Popa at dawn

Start your day to Sint Luu village to see the production of toddy palm juice and sugar. From here continue to the day's main attraction: Mount Popa, which allegedly rose from the ground during a massive earthquake in 442 C.E. Mount Popa is famous as the dwelling of the Nats (Myanmar's pre-Buddhism worshiped spirits) and for its panoramic view of the region. 

In the afternoon visit Minanthu Village and Payathonzu Pagoda, a religious complex shaped by three interconnected shrines. Your final stop for the day is Phwar Saw Village.

Day 9: From Bagan to Monywa by car

Pho Win Taung buddhist Caves in Monywa, Mandalay
Pho Win Taung Buddhist Caves in Monywa, Mandalay

In the morning head to Monywa, located 84 miles (135 km) northwest of Mandalay on the Chindwin River. On the way stop to explore sites along the Chindwin River. 

Visit the Po Win Daung Buddhist Caves, the stop at Shwe Ba Daung. Arrive in the agricultural trade center of Monywa in the afternoon and head to the colorful Thanboddhay Pagoda to pay your respects. 

Day 10: Drive from Monywa to Mandalay and stop to explore Inwa

 Tourists and locals travel by traditional long river boats to the ancient city of Inwa
 Tourists and locals travel by traditional long riverboats to the ancient city of Inwa

In the morning head to the giant Hlaungdawmu Buddha, the second largest reclining Buddha in Myanmar, before hitting the road for Mandalay. 

Arrive in the afternoon and head to the former capital city of Inwa, which was founded in 1364 C.E. and lasted nearly 400 years as the royal capital. Highlights of the city tour include the Leaning Tower of Ava, the Maha Aung mye Bonzan brick-and-stucco monastery, and the elegant teakwood Bagaya Kyaung monastery. 

Day 11: Mingun, Mandalay, and Amarapura

Silhouette of people walking on the U-Bein bridge in the evening in Amarapura
Silhouettes of people walking on the U-Bein bridge in the evening in Amarapura

Start your morning with a short trip upriver to Mingun to see the remains of the world's largest pagoda. Construction of the pagoda halted in 1819 and a 1938 earthquake reduced the massive monument to rubble. Despite the destruction, the remaining base of the pagoda is an impressive sight. 

Head to nearby Myathein Than Pagoda to see the Mingun Bell, the world's largest hanging intact bell. In the afternoon return to Mandalay to visit the revered Mahamuni Pagoda, famous for its gold leaf hammering workshop. Stop to see Shwenandaw Monastery's exquisite wood carvings, then continue to Kuthodaw Pagoda. The pagoda houses 729 stone slabs with Buddha's teachings written in the ancient Pali language. 

End your day in Amarapura with a beautiful sunset and walk across the U Bein Bridge, the longest teakwood bridge in the world. 

Day 12: Pindaya and Inle

Golden Buddha statues in Pindaya Cave
Golden Buddha statues in Pindaya Cave

Early in the morning head to the Mandalay airport for your flight to Heho. After arriving drive to Pindaya, an area famous for its extensive limestone caves filled with images of Buddha. The scenic drive there takes you through endless agricultural fields, and through the Danu villages of Pwehla and Ji Chanzi.

Visit the Pinaday Caves to see the 8,000+ Buddha images, which fill every nook and cranny of the famous caves. 

Continue to Inle Lake, arriving in the evening. 

Day 13: Inle lake on a long-tailed boat

Wooden houses in floating village on Inle Lake
Wooden houses in the floating village on Inle Lake

Your day sightseeing begins aboard a longtailed boat to see Thale Oo village, a traditional agricultural village. Learn about the local agricultural methods, and explore the vibrant culture. Continue to Inn Paw Khone village to tour the lotus and silk weaving facilities, then head to Nanpan to learn about traditional boat making and cheroot (Burmese cigar) production. 

Afterward, visit Phaung Daw U Pagoda, the area's most revered monastery, to see its five ancient gold-leaf covered Buddha statues. End your day with a tour of Nge Phe Chaung monastery's floating gardens.

Day 14: Indein sightseeing - Flight to Yangon

Rows of small stupas at Shwe Inn Dein Pagoda
Rows of small stupas at Shwe Inn Dein Pagoda

Begin your day on Inle Lake with a boat ride up a small creek to visit Indein to see its world-famous 17th-century pagodas. From here continue to the floating village of Ywama, the lake's downtown, and largest village. Tour the gold and silversmith workshops before departing Inle Lake. 

Transfer to Heho Airport for your flight to Yangon. 

Day 15: Departing from Yangon

Old apartments in Yangon
Old apartments in Yangon

Enjoy breakfast at the hotel, then transfer to Yangon International Airport for your departing flight home. Safe travels! 

Map

Map of Explore Buddhism in Myanmar - 15 Days
Map of Explore Buddhism in Myanmar - 15 Days