Essential Myanmar Tour
MYANMAR TOUR HIGHLIGHTS
Opened to visitors in 2010, this beautiful country is still relatively untouched by tourism compared to its Asian neighbours. Join other Solo Travellers in exploring the Colonial city of Yangon and marvel at the 2000 year old Shwedagon Pagoda. Continue onto the ancient city of Bagan and cycle between the thousands of Buddhist temples, pagodas and stupas before heading to Mandalay, the second largest city in Burma, where you will experience panoramic views of the city at sunset. We also stop in Kalaw, where you will be able to hike in the beautiful forests, visit the Pindaya caves and enjoy breathing in the fresh mountain air. The final stop on this amazing Myanmar tour is Inle Lake, where you will see the famous Burmese fishermen, floating islands and the incredible scenery that surrounds the lake itself.
Visit the 2000-year-old Shwedagon Pagoda that towers over Yangon
Watch the sunset over the thousands of temples and pagodas in beautiful Bagan
Watch the famous fishermen of Inle Lake rowing with their legs
Climb to the top of Mount Popa for stunning views of the surrounding area
Day 1 - Arrive Yangon
When you arrive in Myanmar, make your way to the hotel for check-in, which will be from 2pm onwards. Today is an arrival day so there are no planned activities. If you arrive in time, you can join your guide and the rest of the group for dinner to get to know your fellow travellers! Overnight in Myanmar.
Day 2 – Yangon
Kick start your Myanmar tour with a journey through the colonial-style city centre of Yangon. Visit the golden Sule Paya stupa, built over 2000 years ago, visit the Chauk That Gyi pagoda, to see its magnificent reclining Buddha, and Karaweik Hall to marvel at the uniquely decorated hamsa-bird-shaped floating barge on Kandawgyi Lake. Take a trip to Bogyoke Market before finishing up the day at one of the world’s most spectacular monuments, the Shwedagon Pagoda. The 2000 year old gold structure dominates the city’s skyline and is a site not to be missed.
Day 3 – Yangon / Bagan
After breakfast, transfer to Yangon airport for a domestic flight to the Ancient Kingdom of Bagan, an absolute highlight of this Myanmar tour. Visit the Nyaung U Market before starting the temple tour of this beautiful area. Begin at the gold gilded Swezigon stupa, claimed to contain a holy tooth relic of Buddha, continue to Kyansitha Umin, and Gubyaukgyi, an Indian-style ‘cave temple’. You will also visit Htilominlo, Dhamayangyi, Sulamany and Manuha Temples, before finishing the tour at the beautifully symmetric Ananda Temple. For sunset, take a horse cart ride around this ancient city for unparalleled photo opportunities at one of the richest archaeological treasures of Southeast Asia.
Day 4 – Bagan
Today will be spent at your leisure to further explore the stunning ancient temples of Bagan.
Day 5 – Bagan / Popa / Bagan
After breakfast, a 90-minute drive takes you to Mount Popa, a Burmese spiritual epicentre. Pay respects to the Nat Shrine at the foot of Mount Popa before climbing 800 steps to the pagoda atop the mountain where you can admire the views of the surrounding plains and farm lands. In the afternoon, visit a family-run Toddy Shop to observe the process of making the caramel-like toddy candies from the sap of the toddy palms before heading back to Bagan.
Day 6 – Bagan / Mandalay
After breakfast, transfer to Nyaung U airport for a domestic flight to Mandalay. Experience authentic local life as you stroll through the lively Zegyo Market in the heart of the city. Continue on to the Artisan Quarters, to see craftsmanship dating back to the last Kingdom of Myanmar. Next, visit the major highlights of Mandalay; the sacred Mahamuni Pagoda, housing one of the most significant Buddha images; the Golden Palace Monastery, the only surviving Royal Palace building in Mandalay; and lastly, the Kuthodaw Pagoda, a compound housing Buddha’s teachings carved into stone tables. End this fascinating day with panoramic views of the city’s skyline as you watch sunset on Mandalay Hill.
Day 7 – Mandalay / Amarapura / Ava / Sagaing / Mandalay
After breakfast, travel to Amarapura to visit Mahagandayon Monastery, where more than a thousand monks live and study. Continue to the 200-year-old U Bein teak bridge, before visiting a traditional hand-woven silk workshop, for which the city is famous, and Bagaya Monastery to see it’s superb collection of Buddha statues. Continue travelling to Ava (Inwa), the ancient capital of Shan and Burmese Kingdoms. Exploring the city of Ava by horse cart, you will visit the Bagaya Teak Monastery, over 300 years old and still in use by local monks; the Nanmyin Watch Tower, also known as the ‘Leaning Tower of Ava’; and the Maha Aungmye Bonzan Monastery, a 300-year-old architectural wonder. Our final stop on this day is at the Ancient Kingdom of Sagaing, located across the mighty Ayeyarwaddy River. From the Sagaing Hills, enjoy views of the hillside dotted with countless pagodas and pay a special visit to a monastery to learn about the life of Buddhist devotees for sunset. Transfer back to Mandalay.
Day 8 – Mandalay / Heho / Kalaw
After breakfast, transfer to Mandalay airport for a domestic flight to Heho. Visit the bustling Heho Market, the meeting point for different ethnic minority groups of the surrounding areas to trade handmade goods and locally grown produce. On the way to Kalaw, stop at a Local Family Workshop to learn how Shan umbrellas are made using traditional methods and fibres from the mulberry tree. After arriving in Kalaw and checking into the hotel, you can spend the afternoon relaxing in the fresh mountain air or, if you’re looking for something a little more adventurous, try hiking around Kalaw’s beautiful forest vistas (local guides can adjust the duration and difficulty of the hikes to meet your wishes).
Day 9 – Kalaw / Pindaya / Inle Lake
After breakfast, embark on a morning walk to the Kalaw Market, join in the ubiquitous tea culture of the Burmese people at a local tea shop, and sample local pastry delicacies. After driving for 1.5-hours across the Shan highlands you will reach the Pindaya Caves, unique for housing thousands of Buddha images and stalactite formations. Another 2.5-hour drive will bring you to the beautiful Inle Lake, where you will see floating islands and gardens made from the naturally tangled roots of water hyacinth plants, fishermen who balance and row with one leg; a technique used only by the Inn Thar minority group on Inle Lake, and beautiful scenery all around the lake itself.
Day 10 – Inle Lake
After breakfast, visit the Phaungdaw Oo Pagoda, home to some of the country’s most sacred Buddha statues. Next, a visit to Inpawkhon Weaving Village, to learn how local silks, linens and lotus fabrics are made. As an extra treat, you will stop at a house built over the lake for Burmese Cats to see the preservation efforts and reintroduction of this rare pure breed of felines to Myanmar. The final stop is at Nampan Village, where local craftsmen will show you how Burmese cigars are traditionally packed and rolled.
Day 11 – Inle Lake / Inn Thein / Yangon
For the last full day of your Myanmar tour, you will take a boat journey down a small river to reach the Inn Thein Pagoda Complex, a site which will make you feel as though you’ve stepped through a forgotten portal in time. To access the complex, you’ll walk through lush bamboo groves that open up to a field covered with ancient pagodas, constructed over 1,000 years ago. In the evening, transfer to Nyaung Shwe by boat, before driving to Heho airport for a domestic flight to Yangon.
Day 12 - Depart Yangon
After breakfast, you will have the day at leisure until you depart for the airport for international flights home.
WHAT'S INCLUDED IN THE MYANMAR TOUR
- Sharing a twin room at three star hotels with breakfast
- Private tours and transfers in air-conditioned private vehicles
- All domestic flights within Myanmar
- All entrance fees to the sites mentioned in the itinerary
- English speaking local guides
- Boat rental at Inle Lake
- 2 bottles of water & 2 refreshing towels per passenger each day
- Up to eight weeks before departure, a place can be reserved for the Myanmar Tour on payment of a deposit of £250.00, after this date it would be the full amount of the trip.
- Click the book now button and fill in the details and tick the box confirming you accept booking conditions.
- The outstanding balance is due 8 weeks before travel.
- Flights are not included in the cost of this trip and will need to be booked separately. Please do not book flights until we have given the go-ahead. Feel free to ask us if you need any help with booking.
- Please ensure you have checked visa requirements. Get in touch if you are unsure.
- Ensure you have purchased travel insurance, as this is mandatory for all trips.
ESSENTIAL TRIP NOTES
You will need to make sure that your passport is valid for at least 6 months from date of entry and that you have a couple of blank pages. Please also ensure the name on your booking and flight tickets match your passport.
It is the responsibility of the traveller to ensure that they obtain the correct visa for travel. British passport holders require a visa to enter Myanmar. A tourist visa can be obtained online and the cost for 28 days of entry is approximately USD$50. If you hold another nationality passport or originate from another country, please check your relevant embassy website. Information can be found for British Nationals on the FCO website.
You may want to take a copy of your passport and flight confirmations with you – if you lose the originals it is easier to get replacements if you have copies.
FLIGHT TICKETS AND ACCOMMODATION
Please ensure you have proof of return travel tickets and hotel accommodation to hand for arrival as you may need to present details of this.
Travel insurance is mandatory for all trips and you need to carry a copy of your certificate with you. If you haven’t purchased it already, we have partnered up with Columbus Travel Insurance and you can buy your policy through us.
MONEY & COSTS
The currency in Myanmar is the Burmese Kyat (K) and the US Dollar is also widely accepted. You will not be able to get money exchanged before you go, so you can either withdraw from ATM’s (although machines are not particularly reliable) or change at local exchanges when you arrive, which is what we recommend. You should take US Dollars to exchange into local currency, and these must be in pristine condition – no pen marks, folds or tears. Also, pre-2006 dollar bills or ones with the letters AB and CB at the start of the serial number (at the top left corner of note) may not be accepted. GBP and Euros are generally accepted and do not have to be in pristine condition. You can ask your guide for advice on the best places to change your money. Credit cards are slowly being accepted in some places but not everywhere so it’s definitely best to take the amount of cash you expect to spend whilst you’re there.
Myanmar is an inexpensive country to visit. We recommend budgeting £15 – £20 a day for meals and drinks (not including alcohol), but this is just an indicative amount and can vary from local restaurants to more western style, so you may end up spending less or more. Any souvenir shopping you wish to do would be on top of this. You will have a better idea of how much you usually spend when on holiday, so please plan accordingly.
If you feel as though you have received a good service, please reward your local guides and drivers with a tip. We recommend USD$3 – USD$5 per person, per day for local guides, and USD$1 – USD$2 per person, per day for your drivers. Tipping is of course voluntary but gratefully accepted in recognition of good service.
If you would prefer to have your own room on this trip, the additional cost would be £299. Please let us know at the time of booking as it cannot be guaranteed closer to the time.
You will be taking four internal flights during this trip and the checked luggage allowance for these flights is maximum 20kg plus hand luggage. Please do not exceed the allowance. Your guide will have all your boarding passes for each of the flights, so you do not need to obtain these before you go.
As well as the flights, there will also be a couple of drives on this trip. These will be in private, air-conditioned vehicles with experienced drivers.
WHAT TO PACK
- Comfortable walking shoes or trainers
- We recommend dressing conservatively in Myanmar especially when visiting temples or holy sites. During the cooler season (OCT-FEB) we advise taking some warm clothes to wear in the evening or early morning. The weather tends to be warmer during the day. The hot season (MAR-MAY) will be quite warm so we recommend wearing modest, light clothing. During the wet season (JUN-SEP), you will need a raincoat although it does not have to be warm.
- Adequate sun protection – hats, sunglasses, sunscreen
- Waterproof jacket (just in case!)
- Insect repellent
- Re-fillable water bottle if it has built in filters
- Camera with spare batteries and memory cards – you’re going to want to take some photos!
- Power bank
- Plug adapters – These can be viewed via the below links: https://www.power-plugs-sockets.com/myanmar-birma/
We never recommend taking more luggage than you can personally carry as there might not always be someone on hand to help you. One suitcase ideally that can be wheeled, and a small day pack will be more than enough.
Whilst travelling around, we recommend you don’t bring anything you won’t really need – expensive jewelry and watches are not necessary, you can leave them at home. Be vigilant always and avoid carrying large amounts of money around with you. You could invest in a money belt to go under your clothes to keep cards, money or air tickets in for extra safety.
HEALTH & MEDICAL
By now you should have all been to see your doctor or travel nurse and made sure that your vaccinations are all up to date. The areas you will visit are classified as having a “low risk” of malaria, but other mosquito-borne diseases are present throughout the country. You therefore must take precautions by using adequate insect repellent, day and night. Take a look on the government website for more information.
It is not recommended to drink tap water in Myanmar. Although it is clean and safe for locals to drink, what you are used to at home will differ and you could end up with an upset stomach. You should keep hydrated whilst you’re out there as it can get very hot and humid, so make sure you always have a bottle of water with you.
If you take medication for anything or think you may need something whilst you are away, it’s better to take it with you from the UK as items may not be as readily available as they are here and in Myanmar are often counterfeit.
If you are travelling from a country with a risk of Yellow Fever, you will need to take a valid certificate with you to prove you have had the vaccine.
We recommend you read the travel advice for any country you are visiting ahead of your visit. This can be accessed on the FCO website.
When visiting temples and holy sites, you may need to remove your shoes before entering. It is also advised to keep your knees, shoulders and chest covered when visiting religious sites.
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