Myanmar | Burma | Adult Only
Take a back-door tour of Yangon’s golden Shwedagon Pagoda, Myanmar’s most revered shrine, whose stupa alone boasts over 7,000 diamonds, rubies, and sapphires
12 days / 11 nights
Activity LevelActivity levels are subjective depending on your general level of fitness and your experience; however, all of our trips are self-paced.
Immerse yourself in a land of gentle people and ancient tradition on this enchanting, small group Burmese adventure. From floating gardens to sapphire-studded stupas, Myanmar is home to a trove of little-known treasures. On this all-inclusive vacation package, our expert guides introduce you to Myanmar’s many wonders as you explore by foot, hot air balloon, canoe, bicycle and horse and carriage. Take a back-door tour of Yangon’s golden Shwedagon Pagoda, Myanmar’s most revered shrine, whose stupa alone boasts over 7,000 diamonds, rubies, and sapphires. Cruise the mighty Ayeyarwaddy River and explore the ancient temple ruins of Ava. Bike the rolling backcountry of Mandalay, learning about the age-old traditions of bamboo weaving and bean curd production. Visit colorful markets and pause to enjoy a cup of tea with the locals. Throughout this unforgettable journey, enjoy the best in regional accommodations and cuisine complemented with Austin’s signature touch of inspired, thoughtful service. The trip of a lifetime awaits!
Discover the majestic wonders of Myanmar and uncover one of Asia’s most mysterious cultures and breathtaking landscapes on this 12-day exclusive Burmese adventure. As the leading providers of best-in-class travel from floating villages to mountain-top stupas, we’ve handled the details of this custom itinerary so all you have to do is relax and awaken your senses, soaking in as much of this enchanting country as possible.
- Take a back-door tour of Yangon’s golden Shwedagon Pagoda, Myanmar’s most revered shrine, whose stupa alone boasts over 7,000 diamonds, rubies, and sapphires
- Walk through protected and undisturbed Asian jungle to experience the natural habitat that many elephants call home
- Cook with an Intha nativewho will share her traditional Shan recipes in her family house built on stilts on the lake
- Bike the rolling backcountry of Mandalay, learning about the age-old traditions of bamboo weaving and bean curd production
- Opt for a hot air balloon ride over Bagan to catch a breathtaking birds-eye view of the region’s countless Buddhist temples
- Explore the floating villages of Inle Lake by traditional Burmese canoe, visiting colorful markets and pausing to enjoy a cup of tea with the locals
A few more reasons why you've gotta go:
The history: Myanmar is a country rich in culture and ravaged by a tumultuous past. Unravel these mysteries as you get up-close-and-personal with one of the most fascinating cultures on earth.
The familiarity: Only three countries in the world have not adopted the metric system. The United States and Myanmar are two of these.
The culture: Learn to cook simple, tasteful, home-cooked food from a local lady who has been cooking her whole life for her family and enjoys it!
Yangon, Myanmar RGN
Yangon, Myanmar RGN
Upon arrival into Yangon by international flight, your guide will meet you at the airport and transfer you to your hotel. Take what time you need to rest; later today, your guide will pick you up for a heritage walk of Yangon’s unique downtown and its impressive collection of late nineteenth and early twentieth-century buildings, religious and secular. Stroll through the back streets listening to your guide as he explains the history of each building, some of them empty, some restored and some used for different purposes than when originally built. Along the way, enjoy high tea at the famous Strand hotel which will make you feel like you’re back in colonial time .
About The Excelsior Hotel
The architectural wonder that is now the Yangon Excelsior Hotel was built. It originally housed the general headquarters of the Steel Brothers Company, a conglomerate of companies specialised in the economic development of mining, agricultural, mineral and wood resources. Dine throughout the day in the Newsroom, a magical place that evokes all the glorious moments of journalists of the day. In the evening, the prestigious Steel Brothers Wine & Grill opens its doors and at any time of day, the Excelsior Spa, the well-being heart of the hotel, offers care and treatments to guests.
Yangon / Mandalay
So, what’s behind the golden façade of the Shwedagon Pagoda? Our intriguing half day tour starts us at the bottom of the hill where we’ll pass by workshops, markets and monasteries that will help us understand our journey through Myanmar throughout the rest of our trip. Along the way, we’ll enjoy a traditional Burmese breakfast, stop off to make offerings to monks and the pagoda, and visit a fortune teller. Upon arrival to Shwedagon Pagoda, we’ll enter the back door to learn about the pagoda’s full history, the daily life of all of the people living in the immediate surroundings, and a deeper insight into the Buddhist religion and how the spiritual belief is mixed with the belief in nats – the Myanmar spirits. After a typical Burmese lunch, we transfer to the airport for an afternoon flight to Mandalay. Your guide will meet you at the airport for transfer to your hotel.
About Mercure Mandalay Hill Resort
The 12-acre Mercure Mandalay Hill Resort is set at the foot of Mandalay Hill. It offers panoramic views of pagodas as well as the distinctive architecture of the Royal Palace and its beautiful moat. Mandalay is a 1-hour flight from Yangon and 20-minute flight from Bagan. It is within close proximity to some of the most remarkable archaeological sites in the world.
Enjoy a hardy breakfast at the hotel before we embark on another day of adventure. From the jetty in Mandalay we take a leisurely boat cruise for about 2 hours downstream to Sagaing passing the temple dotted hills where we stop and visit the Setkyar Thida nunnery. We continue by boat to Ava, horse carts are ready to take us around this magnificent site with various ancient temple ruins that used to be majestic buildings during the 400 years that Ava was the capital. Lunch will be taken in Ava before continuing to Amarapura by car. The old capital of Amarapura is a very quiet village nowadays where you only hear the sound of the weaving machines. We visit one of the small weaving factories and walk over U-Bein Bridge. An ideal excursion if you don’t take the boat from Mandalay to Bagan since the most interesting part of the long boat ride is covered in this shorter cruise .
Begin today’s bike ride weaving through back roads to get out of town. Heading northeast of the city, we pass through fresh markets and lively neighborhoods, eventually finding ourselves in the true countryside where farmers tend to their fields and villagers go about their daily rituals that have remained unchanged for decades. Water buffalo lazily roll in the mud, goats nibble at the foliage, and friendly locals wave from all directions. At stops along the way, we’ll learn about the different produce on sale at a fresh market and see bamboo weaving which is used to construct everything from roofs and walls to fans. After taking a walk through a typical central Myanmar village, we’ll stop at a tea shop on our way back to town. Upon arrival at our starting point, you’ll be brought back to the hotel via motorbike. After lunch, we tour some of the most famous monuments of Mandalay starting with the top of Mandalay hill for a great view over the Mandalay fort. Continue on to Atumashi and the Shwenandaw monasteries which serve as excellent examples of the architecture and crafts work of this region. End this memorable day with a visit to Kuthodaw Pagoda, famous for its white marble slab architecture.
Mandalay / Nyaung U / Bagan
After breakfast, transfer to the airport for your flight to Bagan. You’ll be met upon arrival and transferred to your hotel where you’ll be picked up for a full day temple tour. Your experienced guide will show you the best known temples of the area. From here, you’ll make your way to places like the Ananda, Dhammayangyi, Sulamani, and Thatbyinnyu – all impressive sites. Sit down for lunch at a local restaurant and late afternoon, continue the tour by horse cart to Pyathagyi pagoda to witness a Myanmar sunset, refreshing drink in hand. Oh… we forgot to mention the best part: whenever you see a temple you like today, just ask your guide to stop to have a look at it – simply pick your own favorite temple!
About Bagan Lodge
The Lodge’s room and suites are familiar, upscale sanctuaries, each with a private veranda. A fusion of classic Burmese design and contemporary décor, and high-quality amenities. Eight private treatment rooms are available to provide guests with an extensive range of massage and beauty treatments – the perfect way to unwind after a day of discovery.
Early morning, opt for a sunrise hot air balloon ride over the temple zone in Bagan, one of many highlights when visiting Myanmar. After breakfast back at the hotel, we head out on a half day swing ride to take in the spectacular scenery and ancient temples of Bagan. You’ll fall in love with Bagan not just because of the beautiful temples and lack of hordes of tourists, but because of the stunning landscape of ancient temple ruins that are spread around randomly between toddy palms and bamboo huts. Enjoy lunch and an afternoon on an optional hot air balloon ride over the temple zone in Bagan. After floating in the air and following the wind, you will land and toast Champagne.
Today, we embark on a trip that any photographer or culture fanatic will absolutely love. We depart Bagan early in our 4×4 vehicle, keeping an eye out for local women carrying firewood for the market while the sun rises behind them. First, we’ll visit the village of Nyaung Gyi, where we’ll find and photograph a blacksmith workshop. In Se Ywa village, we’ll move between local workshops taking in the art of plum purifying, cooking oil producing, and wooden slipper making. Then, we continue on to Taung Kong village where the majority of inhabitants are farmers who also make beautiful pottery. We make our way back to Bagan and rest the remainder of the morning. Meet back up for a picnic in Minnanthu, a favorite temple area among frequent Bagan visitors. While your guide serves up a delicious picnic lunch, you can take in your often deserted, beautiful surroundings while reflecting on the quiet and peacefulness the area is known for. After, visit two or three more ancient temple ruins before heading back to your hotel.
Bagan / Heho / Kalaw
Say goodbye to Bagan as we make our way to Kalaw, stopping along the way for a full day immersion at an elephant conservation project site. As we walk through protected and undisturbed Asian jungle, we’ll learn about this natural habitat that serves as a home for elephants who could otherwise be easily hunted down and killed. Part of the project’s focus is to help the local population get involved in order to grow out of their vicious cycle of poverty through education and micro-finance. Enjoy a local lunch back at camp. Afterwards, it’s time to help the mahout wash and feed the elephants before we continue onward to Kalaw town for check-in at our hotel.
About Amara Resort
Accommodation here is based in two attractive mock-Tudor buildings in a hilltop garden, one built in 2002 and another more than a century previously, in 1909. The 11 rooms are equally spacious and attractive regardless of age, with wood floors and lots of natural light, some boasting large bathtubs and fireplace.
Kalaw / Inle Lake
After breakfast, we transfer to Inle Lake for a day of adventure. From you hotel we have a full day by bike and boat starting with a boat ride to Indein village from where we bike to Than Htaung village where you can have a chat with the monks and visit local homes. We continue by boat or bike to Yay Mae Pin village where we visit an Areca nut plantation. Continue by boat to Khaung Dine for lunch in a local restaurant and bike in about an hour to the stop in Nyaung Shwe. From here you can choose to continue by bike or by boat to your hotel.
About Sanctum Inle Resort
A destination as removed from the wider world as Inle Lake demands a resort where detachment is a priority. At the Sanctum Inle Resort, arches and cloisters reference the monastic life, opening the doors on a more contemplative experience of travel. With a design that celebrates the fundamentals, that merges the spiritual and the secular, the past and the present, East and West, the hotel is a gateway to one of the Asia’s most fascinating locales. Embrace the quietude cultivated by one of Myanmar’s most ambitious new hotels.
Inle Lake in southern Shan State is a vast natural lake surrounded by traditional Shan villages. On the lake itself the Intha people have been living for many centuries in villages built entirely on stilts. Today you ride a private motorboat around the lake to discover its natural beauty, visit the floating gardens, see some of the famous leg rowers, and have a cup of tea at a local family’s house. On and around the lake, traditional markets are held in different villages according to a 5-day rotating schedule. Today we take you to visit one of these colorful markets frequented by Shan and PaO people. We’ll be sure to visit a local cheroot factory (where the Burmese cigars are made), floating tomato gardens, Phaung Daw Oo Pagoda, Intha Heritage house – where the Burmese cats are bred – and a weaving factory.
Inle Lake / Heho / Yangon
After breakfast, spend the morning learning to cook traditional cuisine. Meet Tin Tin – an Intha native from the lake who will share her traditional Shan recipes with you today during a traditional Shan cooking class in a family house built on stilt on the lake. It’s not a Master Chef course from a Michelin restaurant owner but it’s simple, tasteful, home-cooked food from a local lady who has been cooking her whole life for her family and enjoys it! Together with your guide, we visit the local market to find all ingredients, go by boat to the traditional house and help cleaning vegetables, chopping the ingredients, frying or boiling it, adding the right herbs and mixing the right ingredients. Then transfer to Heho airport, flight to Yangon .
An excellent way to end your trip to Myanmar is with a morning of shopping to pick up any last minute souvenirs you may have missed along the way. Our specially selected shopping guide will bring you to whatever shop you like to find a longyi (local sarong), umbrellas, old books, gold leaves, a contemporary painting or even a trishaw (bicycle taxi). Enjoy a one-hour foot massage by blind or deaf people, trained by a local charity, before lunch at Sharky’s restaurant, a local spot known for its “French” cheese, ham and other delicious delicacies. Your guide will drop you off at the airport for your international flight three hours prior to your scheduled flight time.
**Trip itineraries are subject to change without notice due to road, weather and other factors outside of our control, for the safety and enjoyment of our guests, as deemed necessary and appropriate by Austin Adventures and Khiri Travel.
Arrival & Departure
An Austin Adventures representative will meet you upon arrival at the Yangon airport. Upon clearing customs, transportation to the Belmond Governor’s Residence will be provided. On Day 12 you will be transferred from the Belmond Governor’s Residence to the Yangon airport according to your morning or afternoon flight schedule.
- Walking: 1 to 4 hour guided walking excursions to view pagodas, ruins, villages and beautiful scenery.
- Biking: 10 to 15 miles on mostly flat, paved, backcountry roads with stops at local sites along the way. Surfaces can be uneven and at times a bit bumpy; your guide will demonstrate technique on how best to handle this terrain.
- Canoeing: 1 to 3 hour paddle excursion on the calm waters of Inle Lake.
- Boating: Sit back and relax as an experienced boatman maneuvers you around the Ayeyarwaddy River and Inle Lake.
- Hot Air Ballooning: British balloon pilots are operating each balloon under highest UK safety standards.
*Please note that accurate weights of all passengers are required for the Balloon flights’’ safety calculations. Pregnant women and children under the age of 8 or under the height of 137cm are not permitted to fly. Any Passenger in excess of 125 kg/280 pounds is required to pay a 100% surcharge of the ticket price.
Your guides will take the time to explain the details of each activity, answer any questions and demonstrate the use of all equipment. Each activity has been carefully planned to include options for all levels. Most importantly, your guides will help you select the distance that’s right for you.
Now is the time to visit this land of beauty, sprinkled with tiered pagodas, where the traditional ways of Asia live on and areas previously off-limits are opening up. Myanmar, a nation with well over 100 ethnic groups, has yet to be completely taken over by Western fashion – everywhere you’ll come across men wearing longyi, skirt-like sarongs, or women covered in thanakha, traditional make-up. Bask in a slower change of pace when you drift down the Ayeyarwaddy River via old river steamer or cruise amongst ancient ruins in your human-powered trishaw. Engage with friendly locals who display a gentle, humorous, inquisitive and passionate side not found many places in this world any longer. Explore the iconic sites around Mandalay winding through backroads and peaceful villages by bicycle. Walk amongst both the neglected and rehabilitated brick and stucco religious structures that dot the plains of the wonder that is Bagan.
Discover Inle Lake, a seemingly vast silver sheet interspersed with island-bound Buddhist temples, floating gardens and stilt-house villages. Come experience Myanmar with the leaders in adventure travel!
The hallmark of an Austin Adventures vacation is our exceptional dining. Most breakfasts and lunches are included in this itinerary. No dinners have been included. (B = Breakfast, L = Lunch, D = Dinner). Alcoholic beverages and related gratuities are not included in the trip price.
After receiving your reservation and deposit, we’ll send you a pre-trip planner with general information about the area you’ll be visiting, a packing list, exercise guidelines, a guest information questionnaire and a liability release agreement for you to sign and return within 10 days.
Included in the Trip Price
- Double occupancy rooms with private baths.
- All meals as listed in daily detailed itinerary (B = Breakfast, L = Lunch, D = Dinner).
- Fully trained, English-speaking professional guides and knowledgeable local partners.
- Bikes, helmets and other necessary equipment ”“ all safe and well maintained.
- Vehicle support and land transportation during the trip.
- All internal flights within Myanmar.
- Austin Adventures T-shirt, luggage tags and luggage service.
- Pre-departure and packing information.
- All entrance fees.
Not Included in the Trip Price
- Alcoholic beverages and related gratuities.
- Meals as not designated in daily itinerary.
- Visa fees and/or visa authorization.
- Hot air balloon trip over Bagan (optional).
- Pre-and post-trip accommodations and associated expenses.
- Air and land transportation to/from host cities.
- All types of personal insurance.
- Personal expenses.
- Activity levels are subjective depending on your general level of fitness and your experience; however, all of our trips are self-paced.1 Easy (1)
- Activity levels are subjective depending on your general level of fitness and your experience; however, all of our trips are self-paced.2 Moderately Easy (2)
Southeast Asia Expert
As our resident Asia expert, Tim would love to connect with you about the kaleidoscope of landscapes, cultures, eco-systems, and crossroads that lay waiting in Asia. He's had the chance to spend years of his life living and travelling across India, Nepal, Thailand, Fiji, and the rest of Asia. This first-hand experience, shines through in his passion for helping other people delight in the magic and mystery of Asia. Tim will listen to your ideas for a perfect trip and then lend his expertise to ensure we build the right experience for you, whether it's your first trip to the Asia-Pacific, or your 10th.