Experience the remarkable culture of Myanmar on a 10-day journey through the 'Golden Land'. From Mandalay to Bagan and on to Yangon, each day you'll connect with the country's friendly people and rich traditions. This tour focuses on unique experiences that go beyond the classic sightseeing holiday.

Highlights

  • Learn to cook authentic Myanmar cuisine in a family home
  • Rub elbows with the locals at a popular barbecue restaurant
  • Cruise across the Irrawaddy River to Mingun
  • Bike through the temple-filled plains of Bagan
  • Take a ride on Yangon's famous slow-moving commuter train

Overview

Focused on immersive experiences, this three-city itinerary is ideal for first-time visitors who want to experience the wonders of Myanmar. Start in the former royal capital of Mandalay where traditional ways of life are found tucked amid the increasingly modern city. Then travel down to Bagan, one of the world's greatest archaeological gems where you will follow in the footsteps of kings as you discover more than 2,000 ancient monuments. The tour concludes in Yangon, a vibrant city where old and new collide in a mixture of sights, sounds, and culture.

Brief itinerary

Day Highlights Overnight
Day 1 Arrival in Mandalay Mandalay
Day 2 Mandalay - Countryside Biking & Nunnery Lunch - City Sites Mandalay
Day 3 Mandalay - Mingun - Amarapura (U Bein Bridge) Mandalay
Day 4 Mandalay - Bagan Bagan
Day 5 Bagan - Temple Exploration Bagan
Day 6 Bagan - Cooking Class and Sunset Irrawaddy Cruise Bagan
Day 7 Bagan - Fly to Yangon Yangon
Day 8 Yangon - Discover the city by foot, by car and train Yangon
Day 9 Yangon - A Spiritual Shwedagon Discovery Yangon
Day 10 Yangon - Departure  

Detailed itinerary

Day 1: Arrival in Mandalay

Golden Pagoda on Mandalay Hill
Golden Pagoda on Mandalay Hill

Welcome to Myanmar! Upon landing at the Mandalay International Airport, your English-speaking guide and driver will be waiting to greet you and transfer you to the city.

After a chance to freshen up and relax at the hotel, we head out late this afternoon for our first look at the royal capital. We will take a stroll around the moat of Mandalay Palace to see the setting sun cast its last rays on the red-brick walls and Mandalay Hill then head to a Buddhist pagoda rarely visited by tourists.

Join the locals to buy offerings and, while walking around this serene site, get an introduction to Myanmar’s Buddhist culture. Then it’s off to dinner at a local restaurant or, if you are feeling adventurous, at one of the city’s famous barbecue shops.

Day 2: Mandalay - Countryside Biking & Nunnery Lunch - City Sites

This morning we hop on bikes for an easy but scenic ride into the Mandalay countryside. We first cycle to the market, where locals come each morning to buy fresh produce, before continuing through the rice paddies and villages.

Around 11 am we will reach a Buddhist nunnery where we will be treated to a very special lunch prepared by the nuns. After this experience, we continue to a nearby village for tea and a chat with the locals to learn more about rural lifestyles.

Having biked around 20 km, we will hop in the car for the return journey to town. Before the day comes to a close we will see Kuthodaw Pagoda, a collection of engraved marble slabs referred to as the ‘world's biggest book’ and Shwe Nandaw Kyaung, the last remaining building of the Royal Palace.

Day 3: Mandalay - Mingun - Amarapura (U Bein Bridge)

Mingun Paya
Mingun Paya

Today is a full day but a memorable one. We set off for the boat jetty after breakfast and board a private boat for the trip across the Irrawaddy River to Mingun. We'll spend the morning exploring the sites such as the massive Mingun Paya, the Hsnibyume Pagoda, and the world's largest uncracked ringing bell. On the boat journey back we will have lunch and enjoy the river views.

Back on dry land, we drive to Amarapura, a small town that served as the royal capital in the 18th and 19th centuries. We visit a silk dying workshop, a popular industry here, and the famous U Bein Bridge. This 1.2-kilometer structure is the world's longest teak bridge and spans the tranquil Thaung Tha Man Lake.

Day 4: Mandalay - Bagan

The archeological site of Bagan
The archeological site of Bagan

After breakfast, we set off for Bagan (drive time: 4-4.5 hours). The journey will take us through the heart of Myanmar’s ‘dry zone’ and will put us arriving in Bagan hopefully in time for a late lunch.

This afternoon we relax after checking in before heading out for a memorable sunset. 

Day 5: Bagan - Temple Exploration

Spend a full day exploring the temple plains, stopping in at famous monuments and some lesser-known sites. We will use bikes or electric bikes (like scooters) to cut through the smaller laneways and deliver a truly unforgettable experience. There are not enough words to describe the beauty of Bagan! If you wish, we can pop into a lacquerware workshop to see this labor-intensive craft being made by hand. This evening we head to a scenic spot to watch the sunset.  

Day 6: Bagan - Cooking Class and Sunset Irrawaddy Cruise

Sunset along the dirt roads of Bagan
Sunset along the dirt roads of Bagan

We start the morning with a cooking class with a dear friend of ours. She will join you at the local market and together you will shopping for ingredients for lunch. Then it's a short walk to her family home, getting a chance to see what life is like beyond Bagan's temple-filled plains.

Spend the morning cooking and chatting, learning about the local culture and culinary secrets of Myanmar.

After feasting on your dishes at lunch, we return to the hotel for a swim or siesta to skip the midday heat. Late this afternoon we head to the banks of the Irrawaddy River for a private sunset cruise with cocktails and local snacks. Enjoy watching scenes of life on the river and seeing the sun dip low in the sky.

Day 7: Bagan - Fly to Yangon

Yangon
Yangon

This morning is at your leisure in Bagan. Then, this afternoon transfer to the airport for your flight to Yangon. After landing and collecting your luggage, your guide will be waiting to greet you and transfer you to the hotel for check-in.

Day 8: Yangon - Discover the city by foot, by car and train

Set off for a full day exploring the former capital of Yangon with an expert local guide. There is no other city in Southeast Asia with such a rich blend of heritage, culture, and charm as Yangon.

We will explore the diversity of downtown with its colonial buildings, leafy side streets and bustling street markets. Pop into the famed Strand Hotel for a drink before returning to the riverside to check out the action along the Yangon River.

During the day we will also visit Sule Pagoda, the city’s tranquil lakes and stop for a delicious local lunch. This afternoon we hop on the city’s ‘circular train’, a commuter train that slowly moves around the city giving us plenty of opportunities to observe local ways of life.

Day 9: Yangon - A Spiritual Shwedagon Discovery

Spend an insightful morning in and around Myanmar’s most holy site: Shwedagon Pagoda. More than just a monument, this fabulous ‘insiders’ excursion will teach you about the beliefs of the Myanmar people and put you in touch with the culture. Make donations to monks, meet a fortune teller and much more as you walk around the pagoda and its surrounding neighborhood.

After lunch, the afternoon is free to explore on your own or do some last-minute shopping for souvenirs.

Day 10: Yangon - Departure

The morning is free at leisure until it is time to depart. Your driver (no guide) will collect you at your hotel and transfer you to the international airport for your onward flight.

Map

Map of Magical Myanmar Cultural Tour - 10 Days
Map of Magical Myanmar Cultural Tour - 10 Days