12 days

Burma Unveiled (Myanmar)

Burma Unveiled (Myanmar)

U-bien Bridge of Mandalay

The one-legged rowers of Inle Lake

Pagan's thousands of temples

Mingun's world's largest pagoda and unbroken bell

2000-year-old Shwedagon Pagoda

Maymyo hill station

Trip rating
  • The glories of this ancient land (now known as Myanmar) are once again revealed to travellers in this 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, one of many groups that contribute to the ethnic diversity of this colourful country.

    Why we love it

    • The glories of this ancient land (now known as Myanmar) are once again revealed to travellers in this landmark journey.
    • Travelling by road, by air and on water, you will discover why this country is often dubbed the ‘Golden Land’.
    • Starting in Rangoon, a city crowned by the magnificent Shwedagon Pagoda, this adventure will also take you to Mandalay, before journeying on the Irrawaddy River down to the fabled 11th century capital, Pagan.
    • The Inle Lake region exudes tranquillity and will enable you to sample the hospitality of the Shan people, one of many groups that contribute to the ethnic diversity of this colourful country.

    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 in the evening of 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). 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, 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. Or sample some of the great Indian food on offer.
    Summit Parkview Hotel or similar

    Day 2 - Rangoon (Yangon) - Mandalay

    • This morning we set off for one of the great sites of Rangoon, indeed Burma, if not the world! 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 mid-morning for the airport (seeing a bit more of Rangoon along the way).
    • At the airport your tour leader will coordinate the check-in for your flight to Mandalay, using a private airline. Flight time is usually a little over an hour and after landing it is a drive of about 45 minutes to the city and your hotel for the next three nights.
    • The rest of the afternoon is free – you might enjoy a walk to one of the markets, where a great time can be had enjoying the hustle and bustle, taking photos 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 as we take a boat trip up-river to Mingun - the site of the world's largest pagoda (albeit unfinished!), the world’s largest unbroken bell, and temples dating back hundreds if not thousands of years.
    • The river is effectively a major trading, communication and commuting highway and a wide range of different boats, barges and steamers can be viewed along the way.
    • We return to Mandalay late morning: this city was a former capital of Burma; however the surrounding countryside contains many towns that could lay claim to that same title at some stage or another in the past. Later in the afternoon we embark on a tour visiting the remnants of one of these once-great cities, Amarapura. Weather permitting, we may also view a spectacular sunset over the 200-year-old, two kilometre long, U Bein wooden bridge, either from land or by boat.
    • This evening you may wish to dine at your hotel, or your tour leader will be able to recommend any one of a number of good local restaurants: the choice of meals and good places to eat is extensive throughout this trip.
    Oway Hotel or similar
    Breakfast

    Day 4 - Mandalay

    • After a drive up into the hills, Burma's most famous hill station, Maymyo (Pyin U Lwin), provides an escape from the heat of the plains.
    • 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'.
    • Time permitting, 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 spend to an entire day on a ferry boat as we cruise down the Irrawaddy (Ayeyarwady) River. 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.
    • There is a restaurant on board our ferry, and meals and drinks are readily available for purchase during the day. In the evening we arrive in Pagan (Bagan), one of the most impressive archaeological wonders of Asia, and are met and driven to our hotel.
    • (Due to the unpredictable nature of water levels and ferry operations on the Irrawaddy River between February and May, it is possible that some services 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 it may be necessary to fly between Mandalay and Pagan. There will be no extra cost for this flight).
    Sky Palace Hotel or similar
    Breakfast

    Day 6 - Pagan (Bagan)

    • The sights of Pagan will be explored from dawn to dusk. Nyaung U's lively market contrasts with the eerie silence of the plains beyond, which are littered with over 4000 structures, including Gawdawpalin, Thatbyinnyu, Ananda and Shwezigon. The names of the temples and pagodas here are a testament to the glorious past of the region.
    • The area is also famous for producing lacquer-ware and sand paintings that are available in the stalls amidst the ruins.
    • You may be able to do some of today’s exploration by horse and cart, and weather permitting; you will also enjoy a breathtaking sunset view from one of the ruins.
    • If you are interested in taking a hot air balloon ride during sunrise this can be booked on the morning of day 6 or 7. Please see the "Other Important Information" heading in your trip notes for further details on how to pre book these rides as they sell out in advance.
    Sky Palace Hotel or similar
    Breakfast

    Day 7 - Pagan (Bagan)

    • You will drive for an hour before arriving at Mount Popa today, an extinct volcano that is home to local spirits or deities known as 'nats'.
    • For the energetic, you will have the chance to climb the 777 steps to the shrine at the top of the hill.
    • Returning to Pagan, you will visit a local village to observe the lifestyle of the people and talk with some of the villagers.
    • The afternoon is free for further exploration of this amazing area. You may like to hire a bicycle or take a horse and carriage and enjoy your own adventure around the archaeological sites.
    Sky Palace Hotel or similar
    Breakfast

    Day 8 - Inle Lake

    • We board a plane and fly to Heho, which is situated in the Shan Plateau. From here, we drive through picturesque countryside and rolling hills to our final destination, Khaungdaing, situated on Inle Lake not far from the main township, Nyaungshwe.
    • 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 due to the high altitude.
    • At certain times of the year, some of our tours will stay in our other 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 Shans 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 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 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 tribe village (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 - Rangoon (Yangon)

    • We transfer to Heho Airport for the flight back to Rangoon in the morning.
    • The afternoon is free in Rangoon and you can visit Sule Pagoda, which marks the centre of town and the nearby Bogyoke (Scott) Market that sells a wide array of local goods and handicrafts.
    • There is also time explore a fascinating city full of dilapidated colonial edifices, to perhaps take High Tea at the historic colonial hotel, The Strand, and take a stroll through vibrant Chinatown market area as the afternoon cools (these are optional excursions and at your own expense).
    Summit Parkview Hotel or similar
    Breakfast

    Day 12 - Rangoon

    • The tour ends 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): Maymyo; Amarapura; archaeological site at Pagan; and Mount Popa - home to 'nats' (local deities)
    • 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: 11 nights comfortable hotel
    • Meals: 11 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
    • Gratuities for non-essential services and for tour leader
    • Porter
    • 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 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 group 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 group 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.

    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.

  • Map Itinerary

  • 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 Unveiled (Myanmar)

    Kathleen - United Kingdom, 1 Jan, 1970
    5
    Overall Rating

    This was a memorable tour. It was very well organised to visit important sites and interesting places. The tour is advertised as 12 days but really we thought it consisted of 10 days and 11 nights as Day 1 was only an evening meeting up in the hotel and day 12 was just breakfast which we all did independently so couldn't really be counted as a day. In fact we were so confused that we had to book an extra night in Yangon as we had arranged a flight for the following day.

    Burma Unveiled (Myanmar)

    Joel & Sally - Canada, 8 Feb, 2014
    5
    Overall Rating

    We thoroughly enjoyed the tour. Excellent guide, good hotels, good transportation arrangements. And because the group got along well, we did not have any criticisms.

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Trip at a glance

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

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