See the best of Myanmar. This short but insightful holiday covers a lot of ground, starting from the vibrant city of Yangon and traveling onwards to the temple-filled plains of Bagan. Explore Mandalay’s ancient capitals and then fly to the Shan State, a region of stunning landscapes and colourful hill tribe groups.

Highlights

  • Explore Yangon’s historic colonial buildings and glittering pagodas
  • Wander amid thousands of ancient pagodas in Bagan
  • Take a sunset boat cruise on the mighty Irrawaddy River
  • Step back in time with a visit to Mandalay’s surrounding ancient cities
  • Learn to make Shan specialty dishes with a local family
  • Cruise past floating gardens and stilted houses on Inle Lake

Detailed itinerary

Day 1: Arrival Yangon

Shwedagon Pagoda
Visit Shwedagon Pagoda, one of Yangon's main attractions

Your Myanmar holiday begins by discovering Yangon, the country’s largest city. Explore downtown’s eclectic mix of cultures and colonial buildings. Highlights include vibrant street markets, the Indian quarter and a vast array of colonial vestiges and religious monuments. 

Day 2: Yangon

Yangon
A view across Yangon's skyline

Get to know the ‘real’ Yangon with a fascinating morning excursion through the city and its suburbs. Start with a ride on the commuter train. Referred to as the ‘Circular Train’, the train travels slowly and stops often allowing travelers and vendors to hop on and off throughout the journey. Enjoy watching the activity on the train as well as outside as it passes through local neighborhoods and alongside markets. (Train ride is 20-30 minutes; basic carriage with no air conditioning). Continue see the massive 72-meter long Buddha image at Kyaukhtatgyi Pagoda then mingle with the locals at Kandawgyi Park. As the sun begins to set, head to Shwedagon Pagoda where you will join Buddhist devotees at the country’s holiest shrine. Cap off the night with a visit to the vibrant Chinatown, walking amid the neighbourhood’s bustling food stalls and local bars.

Day 3: Yangon to Bagan

Bagan pagoda
The pagodas of Bagan, one of Myanmar's most beautiful sites

Awake early this morning for a flight to Bagan. Touch down in one of Asia’s most remarkable architectural sites. Spend a full day exploring the temple plains, stopping in at famous monuments and some lesser-known sites. After a visit to the famous lacquerware workshops of Bagan, board a wooden motorboat for a cruise on the Irrawaddy River. Watch the sun set over the town’s mighty ruins and riverside villages. This is the perfect end to a busy day of sightseeing in Bagan. 

Day 4: Bagan

Sunrise in Bagan
An early morning hot-air balloon flight over Bagan

Awake early for an optional hot-air balloon flight over the temples of Bagan or grab a few extra hours of shut-eye and start touring after breakfast. Start the day like a local, with a visit to the vibrant morning market. Then continue to Shwezigon pagoda, Bagan’s holiest site. The rest of the day is spent exploring temples and villages, getting a closer look at the local ways of life in central Myanmar. As the day comes to a close, climb aboard a horse-drawn cart for a scenic ride through the plains.

Day 5: Bagan to Mandalay

Shwenandaw Kyaung Temple
Shwenandaw Monastery in Mandalay

Take an early morning flight to Mandalay for an exciting excursion around this historic city. Start with a visit to the top of Mandalay Hill for an orientation to the city’s history and layout. Then explore the many sites located at the base of the hill, including the giant marble Buddha image at Kyauktawgyi and the ‘World’s Biggest Book’. The final stop of the morning is Shwenandaw Monastery, the only remaining building of the Royal Palace.

After lunch, continue exploring the sprawling city with a trip to Mahamuni Pagoda. This magnificent Buddha image is one of the country’s most revered statues and is covered in layer upon layer of gold leaf. The day comes to a close with a memorable trip to Amarapura, the former royal capital. Visit Mahagandayon Monastery, home to hundreds of monks, followed by a short walk to U Bein Bridge, the world’s longest teak bridge. Watch as the sun sets over this beautiful site then return to town for the evening.

Day 6: Mandalay to Sagaing to Ava to Mandalay

Soon Oo Ponya Shin Pagoda
Soon Oo Ponya Shin Pagoda, Sagaing

Start the day with a trip to Sagaing. With more than 100 meditation shrines and 600 other religious buildings, it is no wonder why Sagaing is considered the spiritual centre of Myanmar. Explore some of the most important sites and, if you are lucky, meet monks or nuns and learn more about their life.

Continue the day with a visit to the historic sites of Ava, also known as Inwa. Travel by horse cart along the dirt roads of the town which served as Myanmar’s capital several times between the 14th and 19th centuries. See relics of Ava’s former glory such as its watch tower and several beautiful religious buildings. 

Day 7: Mandalay to Heho to Pindaya

Pindaya Caves
The red roof staircase leading to Pindaya caves

Leave the flatlands of Mandalay this morning and travel to the hills of the Shan State. A short flight will take you to Heho where a car will be waiting for a scenic drive to Pindaya. Pass through fertile fields growing cabbages, pumpkins and other seasonal crops and keep an eye out for members of the Pa-Oh and Danu ethnic groups in their distinctive traditional dress.

Upon reaching Pindaya, head straight to the market. Mingle with the locals as you browse the stalls selling everything from fresh produce to dried fish. After checking in to your hotel, venture to the outskirts of town and meet with a local family at their tea plantation. Take a short walk, learning how to identify fresh leaves ready for harvest. Walk to the family’s house where they will serve tea and local treats. You will also have the opportunity to learn how to prepare tea leaf salad, one of Myanmar’s most beloved snacks.

The final visit of the afternoon is the renowned Pindaya caves. Arrive in the late afternoon, long after the day tour buses have left, and wander through the massive cave to admire then thousands of Buddha images found inside.

Day 8: Pindaya to Inle Lake

Inle Lake
A unique fishing tradition on Inle Lake

Continue your excursion through the Shan State with a beautiful drive to Nyaung Shwe. Upon arrival take a short tour of this charming town before hopping into a long-tail boat for a trip on Inle Lake. Spend the day cruising around the calm waters, soaking up the splendid mountainous landscape that surrounds the lake.

Explore villages built on stilts and floating gardens, getting a chance to learn about the life and culture of the lake’s residents. Stop in at workshops making incredible hand-woven silks and fabrics created from the fibers of the lotus flower. You will also visit Phaung Daw Oo Pagoda where you can join local devotees as they come to pay homage to this sacred site. If time allows, there will also be a stop at Nge Phe Chaung, a wooden monastery with a remarkable collection of Buddha images. 

Day 9: Inle Lake to Indein

Pagodas of Indein
Get lost amidst hundreds of stupas at Indein

Depending on the day, there may be a chance to visit one of the lake’s morning markets to see members of various ethnic groups coming to buy and sell fresh produce and other goods. Then take a morning boat trip down a jungle-covered canal to reach the Indein jetty. Take a leisurely walk around Indein, a village inhabited by the Pa-Oh ethnic group. Climb to the top of a hill where hundreds of small stupas cover the land. Enjoy mesmerizing views of Inle Lake from this elevated viewpoint and relax in the tranquil surroundings, a perfect way to end your exploration of Inle Lake.

Day 10: Inle Lake to Heho to Yangon

Your Myanmar adventure concludes today with a flight to Yangon. Should time allow, head downtown to Scott’s Market (also known as Bogyoke Market) for some last-minute souvenir shopping or relax at one of Yangon’s many tea shops. A driver will pick you up in time for a transfer to the international airport for your onward flight.

Map

Map of Highlights of Myanmar - 10 Day Tour
Map of Highlights of Myanmar - 10 Day Tour

Recent Trip Reviews

Related trips planned by kimkim specialists

Highlights of myanmar - 10 day tour, Myanmar - Sep 4 - Sep 17, 2018

Traveler: charlie a. - Local specialist: Su Shwe Yee Aung

Reno hotel-Yangon almost if not all non smoking room smells smoking if the aircon is not running.
Guide in Bagan not explaining the history of Bagan and each monument we went well enough or none at all.
Guide in Yangon, enle lake, mandalay were very good. All Drivers drive good and safe. Restaurant were averagely ok.
Tour generally are so so. Why..?? Market here today and everyday and last day in Yangon were 3-4 markets all day. Photography is not just all markets. Sunrise and sunset is a must. Tribes , customs, traditions, history, important monuments and etc.

Highlights of myanmar - 10 day tour, Myanmar - Dec 19 - Dec 27, 2017

Traveler: April H. - Local specialist: Wai Lin Tun

We really enjoyed our trip to Myanmar. Our guide in Yangon, Jin, met us at the airport and was so courteous, informational, and helpful. We especially appreciated his help when we went to get on our night bus, he stayed until we were at the right bus and all checked in ready to go. In Bagan, our guide Wint picked us up right at the bus stop. She had arranged for us to be able to check into our hotel early for a shower and breakfast, SO NICE. She was very friendly and took us to the main... read more

We really enjoyed our trip to Myanmar. Our guide in Yangon, Jin, met us at the airport and was so courteous, informational, and helpful. We especially appreciated his help when we went to get on our night bus, he stayed until we were at the right bus and all checked in ready to go. In Bagan, our guide Wint picked us up right at the bus stop. She had arranged for us to be able to check into our hotel early for a shower and breakfast, SO NICE. She was very friendly and took us to the main temples, but also to some of her favorites, which was so personal and wonderful. In Mandalay, Tim told us not only about the temples, but also about life in Myanmar and how things are changing or not changing. We really were interested to hear about the life and culture of Myanmar beyond the general Buddhism of the temples history. In Inle, our guide Koko was still waiting for us after our night bus got stuck in traffic - he waited from 3:30am when we arrived at 9:30 am! He took us to the Pindaya caves and to Inle Lake. When tummy sickness changed the end of our trip, our local planner, Wai Lin, was very helpful and able to arrange for Jin to pick us up again at the airport, instead of the night bus as planned. Jin even took us out for another visit in Yangon before going back to our departure at the international airport. Overall the trip was very well planned, the accommodations were excellent, and the local guides in each place were superb!