17 days

Burma - The Golden Land (Myanmar)

Burma - The Golden Land (Myanmar)

Ngwesaung's beach

Maymyo hill station

Mingun's world's largest pagoda and unbroken bell

Pagan's thousands of temples

U-bien Bridge of Mandalay

Pegu - ancient centre of the Mon kingdom

The Golden Rock of Kyaiktiyo

2000-year-old Shwedagon Pagoda

Trip rating
  • The glories of this ancient land (now known as Myanmar) are revealed to travellers in this comprehensive landmark journey. Travelling by road, by air and on water, we discover why the country is often dubbed the Golden Land. We start in Rangoon, a city crowned by the magnificent Shwedagon Pagoda, then fly to Mandalay, before journeying on the Irrawaddy River down to the fabled 11th century capital, Pagan. The Inle Lake region exudes tranquillity and enables us to sample the hospitality of the Shan people. Kyaiktiyo is home to the fabled Golden Rock, whilst Bago was once the centre of an ancient Mon kingdom and contains one of the largest reclining Buddhas in the world. You end your journey by relaxing on a coastal resort on the Indian Ocean, enjoying the unspoilt and almost deserted beach with pure white sands and crystal-clear tropical waters.

    Why we love it

    • The glories of this ancient land (now known as Myanmar) are revealed to travellers in this comprehensive landmark journey
    • Travelling by road, by air and on water, you will discover why the country is often dubbed the Golden Land
    • Starting in Rangoon, a city crowned by the magnificent Shwedagon Pagoda, you will then visit Mandalay, before journeying on the Irrawaddy River down to the fabled 11th century capital, Pagan
    • The Inle Lake region exudes tranquility and enables visitors to sample the hospitality of the Shan people
    • Kyaiktiyo is home to the fabled Golden Rock, and Bago was once the centre of an ancient Mon kingdom and contains one of the largest reclining Buddhas in the world
    • Ending your journey by relaxing on a coastal resort on the Indian Ocean, enjoying the unspoilt and almost deserted beach with pure white sands and crystal-clear tropical waters

    Itinerary

    Day 1 - Rangoon (Yangon)

    • Min Gala Ba! Welcome to Burma.
    • An airport arrival transfer is included. This transfer is only valid if arriving on day 1 or if you have booked pre-trip accommodation through Intrepid. Please provide your flight details at the time of booking, or at a minimum 15 days prior to travel (note - we may not be able confirm request made within 15 days of travel). Once you have provided your details a transfer representative will be booked to meet you at the airport and transfer you to your hotel.
    • Your adventure begins with a Welcome Meeting at 6pm on Day 1.
    • You can arrive at any time during the day as there are no activities planned until this important meeting; please check with the hotel reception where and when it will take place, or check the reception notice boards. If you can't arrange a flight that will have you arrive at the hotel by early evening, you may wish to arrive a day early so you're able to attend. We'll be happy to book additional accommodation for you (subject to availability). Please note in some cases Peregrine are not able to secure the same room type for pre-tour accommodation that we stay at on the trip. You may need to change rooms on Day 1, the hotel will assist you if this is necessary. If you're going to be late, please inform the hotel reception. We'll be collecting your insurance details and next of kin information at this meeting, so please ensure you have all these details to provide to your leader.
    • Formerly named Rangoon, Yangon is the country's biggest city and was the capital from 1885, when the British conquered the north and the kingdom of Mandalay, until just a few years ago when the government moved the capital to Naypyidaw.
    • To get your bearings and a taste of this wonderful city, perhaps take a walk to Sule Paya, then perhaps down to the Victorian Strand Hotel to admire both the colonial architecture and the bargaining madness of Bogyoke Market.
    Summit Park View or similar

    Day 2 - Rangoon (Yangon) - Mandalay

    • This morning we set off for one of the great sites of Yangon. The extraordinary Shwedagon Pagoda and its surrounding temples and edifices dominate all and provide an extraordinary mix of monks and pilgrims and worshipers and tourists. We will spend some time walking around the complex, learning of its history and spiritual devotions, and experiencing the ambiance of this extraordinary place.
    • We then leave for the airport (seeing a bit more of Yangon along the way). Departure time will vary depending on flight availability. The flight takes approx. 1 hour and after landing it is a drive of about 1 hour to the city and your hotel for the next three nights.
    • Tonight you might enjoy a walk to one of the markets, where a great time can be had enjoying the hustle and bustle or bargaining for local wares.
    Oway Hotel or similar
    Breakfast

    Day 3 - Mandalay

    • We make our way down to the city’s lively waterfront which offers an interesting backdrop for our boat trip upriver to Mingun - the site of the world's largest (albeit unfinished!) pagoda, the world’s largest unbroken bell, and temples dating back hundreds of years. The river is effectively a major trading, communication and commuting route and a wide range of different boats, barges and steamers can be viewed along the way. The journey usually takes 1 hour on the way there and 40 mins on the way back.
    • Later in the afternoon we embark on a tour visiting the remnants of one of the once great cities that surround Mandalay - Amarapura, just 11 km south of the city. Weather permitting, we may also view a spectacular sunset over the 200-year-old, 2 km long U Bein wooden bridge, either from land or by boat.
    Oway Hotel or similar
    Breakfast

    Day 4 - Mandalay

    • A drive up into the hills to Burma's most famous hill station, Maymyo (Pyin U Lwin), provides an escape from the heat of the plains (approx. 2 hours/70 km). Established during the colonial era back in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, it is today a crossroad for traders coming over from China and this is reflected in its colourful market.
    • Time permitting, you may explore surroundings in a local horse-drawn carriage called a 'myin-lay'. English-style country mansions and Chinese temples dot the hillsides in a place rightly called the 'vegetable garden' of Burma.
    • Later, we return to Mandalay where the rest of the day is spent visiting various temples, including Kuthodaw Pagoda that claims to house the world's largest 'book'. It was once a challenging walk up Mandalay Hill (236 metres), but these days, if in operation, a series of large escalators will do most of the work for you on the way up! If conditions oblige, the sunset views from the summit can be impressive and along the way there are many shrines of religious significance.
    Oway Hotel or similar
    Breakfast

    Day 5 - Pagan (Bagan)

    • We depart early from our hotel for the waterfront to board the ferry boat that will take us down the as we cruise Ayeyarwady River to Bagan. This is a wonderful way to experience Burmese local life as we travel along the river. The ferry usually departs around 7am and takes approximately 9 hours to travel the 36 km to reach our destination.
    • Due to the unpredictable nature of water levels on the river between February and May, it is possible on the very rare occasion that some ferries may be cancelled during that period. Some of these cancellations may take place at the last minute and often without warning. If this is the case we may travel by road between Mandalay and Bagan.
    • We'll likely spend most of our time on deck watching riverside life go by, although there are also allocated seats on the lower deck. Some ferries also have a cafe/bar on the upper deck for drinks and simple meals. Your leader will let you know in advance if you need to plan to bring any supplies.
    • Along the way, we witness the idyllic way of life that epitomises parts of rural Burma in the form of the small fishing villages that lie along the riverbanks. And we pass dozens of boats of different size and utility, testament to the role which this mighty river plays in the life of so many.
    Sky Palace Hotel or similar
    Breakfast

    Day 6 - Pagan (Bagan)

    • We can explore the sights of Bagan from dawn to dusk. Nyaung U's lively market contrasts with the eerie silence of the plains littered with over 4000 structures, including Gawdawpalin, Thatbyinnyu, Ananda and Shwezigon - all names of temples and pagodas that bear testament to a glorious past. The area is also famous for producing lacquer ware and sand paintings that are available in the stalls amid the ruins. There is also a chance to do some of our exploration by horse and cart. Weather permitting, we may enjoy a breathtaking sunset view from one of the ruins.
    Sky Palace Hotel or similar
    Breakfast

    Day 7 - Pagan (Bagan)

    • Our drive takes us for approx. 1 hour/60 km to Mount Popa, an extinct volcano that is home to local spirits or deities known as 'nats'. For the energetic, there is a chance to climb the 777 steps to the shrine at the top of the hill. Returning to Bagan the afternoon is free to further explore this amazing area. You may hire a bicycle or take a horse carriage and enjoy your own exploration of the archaeological sites.
    • If you are interested in taking the hot air balloon tour over Pagan, there is free time on the morning of day 6 or 7. Please note that this needs to be booked in advance - please refer to the "Other Important Information" section of the notes.
    Sky Palace Hotel or similar
    Breakfast

    Day 8 - Inle Lake

    • Today we drive the approx. 25 mins to the nearest airport in Nyuang U, from where we fly to Heho (approx 40 mins), the gateway for Inle Lake.
    • We drive through picturesque countryside and rolling hills to our final destination, Khaungdaing, situated on Inle Lake not far from the main township, Nyaungshwe (approx. 45 min).
    • This afternoon you may like to rent a canoe (for about one hour) and row in to Lin Kin village, famous for its floating garden in the lake. On our way back we may stop over at some of the village houses to see the process of making traditional snacks (optional and at extra cost). You will notice that the weather is rather cooler here due to the high altitude. At certain times of the year, some of our tours will stay in an alternate hotel, located up in the hills in Taunggyi.
    Khuang Daing Resort or similar
    Breakfast

    Day 9 - Inle Lake

    • A full day is spent on the lake exploring the floating gardens and catching a glimpse of the local Intha fishermen who are famous for their unique 'leg-rowing' technique. These people are different from the Shan and they originate from the south of the country. The lake is also home to a wide array of bird-life including egrets, cranes, ducks, storks and various birds of prey. Visits may be made to some of the local villages and our stay may coincide with one of the market days: always exciting with much of the commuting being done by local people using the ubiquitous long-tail boats.
    Khuang Daing Resort or similar
    Breakfast

    Day 10 - Inle Lake

    • After breakfast at our hotel we transfer to the Indein ruins complex (about 45 minutes by long-tail boat). On disembarking we find a pagoda and stupas built in the 8th century. We can also enjoy browsing through the rows of shops along the corridor uphill or just marvel at the surroundings. After spending some time we will start our walk towards to Yankin, Pa O and Taung Yoe villages (1.5 km, approx 45 minutes). Along the way we explore the mystery of more than 300 ancient stupas around the village and then continue towards (1 km, approx 30 minutes) to a Buddhist monastery and head north to Naydaw (1.5 km, approx 45 minutes) to Taung Yoe ethnic tribe village through farm land and bamboo forest. From here turn to South-West (5 km, approx 3 hours) through the valley ups and downs to west Taung Mauk, Pa O village from here another 20 minute walk would get you to east Taung Mauk village. Finally we turn east through valley to Indein (3 km, approx 45 minutes) where we will meet our boat and return back to hotel.
    • This evening we enjoy a traditional Shan dinner and get to sample some of the local style culinary specialties.
    • Note: the amount of walking advisable today will depend on individual and group fitness and wishes, and also the time of year. In the hotter months from March to October reduced distances are often advisable, and arrangements can be discussed with your tour leader the day before.
    Khuang Daing Resort or similar
    Breakfast | Dinner

    Day 11 - Kyaiktiyo

    • In the morning we transfer to Heho Airport for the flight back to Yangon (approx. 1 hour).
    • As this is a combination trip, your tour leader and travel companions may change today.
    • It is suggested that you pack an overnight bag for the one-night stop in Kyaiktiyo. The remainder of your luggage can be stored on the bus which will be waiting at the base camp while you're visiting the pagoda.
    • It is approximately a 5 hour drive to the base camp at Kinponsakan, where you will transfer to an open air truck with basic wooden bench style seating, and take a bumpy drive for around 1 hour up towards the summit (1180 metres above sea level).
    • The Golden Rock (Kyaiktiyo Pagoda) is a place of pilgrimage for Buddhists. There is a small pagoda (7.3 metres high) built on a gold-gilded boulder, 25 metres in circumference, and balanced in what appears to be a very precarious position on a tabular rock, jutting out from a ridge in the Eastern Yoma Mountains. Legend has it that the boulder is held in position by a strand of Buddha's hair. Spending a night in Kyaiktiyo is one of Burma's most spiritual experiences.
    • Please be aware that the accommodation in Kyaiktiyo is much more basic than in other destinations on our trip and that due to this being a very popular place of pilgrimage hotels can often be overbooked and the site very crowded. At times we may not be able to secure our preferred accommodation at the summit and may stay back in the town at the base. Travel times will also vary and in the wet season the journey can be quite arduous. A large dose of patience will go a long way towards enjoying your experience here!
    Mountain Top Hotel or similar
    Breakfast

    Day 12 - Pegu (Bago) - Rangoon (Yangon)

    • We spend the morning walking around Kyaiktiyo. After descending from the summit, we return to Yangon, retracing our path from yesterday.
    • Along the way we stop at Bago (approx 2 hours from Kyauktiyo), an ancient centre of the Mon kingdom in the 13th century. Here we visit the Shwemawdaw Pagoda, which is even larger than the famous Shwedagon Pagoda, and the Shwethalyaung Buddha, one of the largest Reclining Buddhas in existence.
    • After exploring Bago, we continue back to Yangon for the night (approx 2 hours).
    Summit Park View or similar
    Breakfast

    Day 13 - Bassein (Pathein) - Ngwesaung

    • Turning our attention towards the delta region, we head west and drive for approx 5 hours to the port city of Bassein, which is famous for its colourful hand-painted umbrellas (sometimes this stop will be made on Day 16, on the way back to Yangon). You will see how these parasols are made on a visit to a local factory, before continuing on to the tropical paradise of the coast.
    Sunny Paradise Resort or similar
    Breakfast

    Day 14 - 15 - Ngwesaung

    • Burma’s little-known secret is its beautiful coastline fronting the Indian Ocean. At Ngwesaung (pronounced ‘neway-song’) lies an unspoiled white sand beach, 15 km long and bordered by tall swaying palms.
    • You will have the chance to relax for a couple of days, staying in a hotel that has the lush settings of a resort.
    • You will have the chance to swim in the waters of the warm, blue tropical sea, visit small fishing villages and local markets, explore the countryside by bicycle, and enjoy optional boat trips to the beautiful off-shore islands (cost not included).
    • Please note that during the rainy season (May-September), many facilities may be closed and several activities may not be available due to inclement weather. Travel times to the beach town vary extensively due to varying road conditions and so can be anything from 3-7 hours. As with all travel times listed in this itinerary, these are approximate only and based on our travellers most recent experiences.
    Sunny Paradise Resort or similar
    Breakfast

    Day 16 - Rangoon (Yangon)

    • Today you will depart after breakfast for a full travel day back to Yangon by private vehicle (approximately 7 hours). Along the way stop in Bassein to pay homage to those who gave their lives during World War II at the Htawk Kyant Commonwealth War Cemetery.
    • Depending on what time you arrive back in Yangon, you may have free time to visit Sule Pagoda, which marks the centre of town (this is an optional excursions and at your own expense).
    • You can spend your last evening together enjoying a meal (optional) and wandering around town.
    Summit Park View or similar
    Breakfast

    Day 17 - Rangoon (Yangon)

    • The tour will come to an end today after breakfast. A transfer to the airport is not included; however, your tour leader will be on hand to advise you as to the options available.
    Breakfast
  • What to Know

    What's Included

    • The services of Peregrine’s expert English-speaking local tour leader throughout the tour
    • Local flights by private airline: Rangoon to Mandalay, Pagan to Heho (for Inle Lake), and Heho to Rangoon
    • Sightseeing (including entrance fees where applicable): Rangoon - Shwedagon Pagoda and Karaweik Hall; Mandalay - Kuthodaw Pagoda and Mandalay Hill
    • Sightseeing (including entrance fees where applicable): Amarapura; Maymyo hill station; archaeological site at Pagan; Mount Popa - home to 'nats' (local deities)
    • Sightseeing (including entrance fees where applicable): Ancient centre of the Mon kingdom – Pegu; Shwemawdaw Pagoda; Shwethalyaung Buddha; and port city of Bassein
    • Boat trip to Mingun - the site of the world's largest pagoda and unbroken bell
    • Day ferry boat cruise down the Irrawaddy River (subject to water levels) from Mandalay to Pagan to discover rural Burma
    • A full day discovering Inle Lake on a traditional long-tail boat
    • Trek to ethnic minority villages on Shan Plateau
    • Traditional Shan dinner
    • Free time to explore Rangoon, Mandalay and Pagan
    • Arrival transfer
    • Accommodation: 16 nights comfortable hotel
    • Meals: 16 breakfasts, 1 dinner
    • (From 1st Jan 2015) Gratuities included for the essential services only that you will receive as part of your tour package

    Not Included

    • International flights
    • Departure taxes (if required)
    • Visas
    • Other meals
    • Insurance
    • (From 1st Jan 2015) Gratuities for non-essential services and for tour leader
    • Any additional optional tours or activities
    • Spending of a personal nature, including drinks, laundry, souvenirs
    • Departure transfer

    Safety Information

    It is recommended that you check your government's advice for their latest travel information prior to your departure. Peregrine strongly recommends the use of a neck wallet or money belt while travelling, for the safe-keeping of your passport, air tickets, cash and other valuable items. Please leave your valuable jewellery at home - you won't need it while travelling. Most of our hotels will have a safety deposit box, which is the most secure way of storing your valuables. A lock is recommended for securing your luggage.

    Your tour leader will accompany you on all included activities, however during your trip you'll have some free time to pursue your own interests, relax and take it easy or explore at your leisure. While your tour leader will assist you with the available options in a given location, please note that any optional activities you undertake are not part of your itinerary, and Peregrine makes no representations about the safety of the activity or the standard of the operators running them. Please use your own good judgement when selecting an activity in your free time. Please also note that your tour leader has the authority to amend or cancel any part of the trip itinerary if it's deemed necessary due to safety concerns.

    FIRE PRECAUTIONS: Please be aware that local laws governing tourism facilities in this region differ from those in your home country and not all the accommodation which we use has a fire exit, fire extinguishers or smoke alarms.

    TRAFFIC AND DRIVING CONDITIONS: Depending on where you come from please note that drivers in this part of the world may drive on the opposite side of the road from what you are used to. Look both ways before crossing any road. Be aware that traffic can be a little more chaotic than you might be used to at home.

    PETTY THEFT AND PERSONAL SAFETY: While travelling there is always the risk of pick-pocketing and petty theft, particularly in the more touristy cities. We recommend that you exercise caution when walking alone at night and encourage you to walk together and only on main, well-lit thoroughfares. Be particularly vigilant on public transport. Simple measures like carrying your day pack on your front, not hanging your bag over the back of your chair and wearing a money belt will reduce any chance that your valuables should go missing.

    SWIMMING POOLS: You may stay at hotels with unfenced pools and no life guard on duty.

    BALCONIES: Some hotel balconies don't meet western standards in terms of the width of the balcony fence being narrower than 10cm.

    SEAT BELTS: Please be aware that local laws governing transportation safety may differ from those in the western world or from your home country and not all the transport which we use provides seat belts.

  • Past Travellers' Ratings & Comments

    At the end of each trip, we ask our travellers to provide feedback. We publish the positive, negative and neutral feedback on this page to give you an overall idea of what to expect on this trip.

    Burma - The Golden Land (Myanmar)

    Margaret - Australia, 16 Feb, 2014
    5
    Overall Rating

    Burma - The Golden Land (Myanmar)

    Kim - Australia, 31 Jan, 2014
    5
    Overall Rating

    The trip was very well paced, the hotels were all very comfortable and of a very good standard (especially at Bagan, Inle Lake and at the beach for our final 3 nights) and the activities and sites included were all excellent. I'm also really glad that we decided to do the 17 day tour - the Golden Rock & surrounding countryside is well worth seeing and the time to unwind at the beach before heading back to work was ideal.

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Trip at a glance

Trip Code PABG
Start City: Yangon (Rangoon), Myanmar (Burma)
End City: Yangon (Rangoon), Myanmar (Burma)
Style: Small Group

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