16-Day Ancient Myanmar Experience

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Tour type

Tour Level: Moderate

Tour Comfort: Standard

Tour Period: 16 Days

Spanish, German, English, French, Russian    Yangon, Pyay, Popa, Bagan, Pakokku, Monywa, Mandalay, Inle Lake, Yangon

tour highlights

  • Visit Pyay's bustling central market
  • Explore the Payagyi and Payama stupas
  • Discover Mount Popa, the mythical home of Myanmar's 'spirits'
  • Wander along the banks of the Ayeyarwady River
  • See Inle Lake’s unique Intha fishermen ‘leg rowers’

tour details

Beginning in Yangon, your tour commences in Strand Road and continues with visits to the Botathaung Pagoda, Chinatown, the Sule Pagoda and the Shwedagon Pagoda before you make your way to Pyay. Here you’ll pay your respects at the Commonwealth War Graves Cemetery, discover a cheroot-making workshop and see the Shwesandaw Pagoda. Next you’ll make your way to Mount Popa, the mythical homes of Myanmar’s ‘spirits’. As you proceed to Bagan, you’ll see the Shwezigon Pagoda, the Ananda Temple and a lacquer craftsman’s workshop. Next you’ll continue to Pakkoku to wander through a local market, visit a cheroot maker and see the breathtaking reclining Buddha. You’ll conclude your tour with visits to both Mandalay and Heho, two fascinating yet distinctly different cities, before returning to Yangon.

Why choose this tour?

  • Observing plenty of ancient Myanmar histories and cultures which make any visit to Myanmar unique and spellbinding
  • Featuring the big cities of Yangon, Mandalay, Bagan and Inle Lake with their impressive architectures and religious monuments
  • A perfect opportunity to extend your visit to the inspiring UNESCO sites of Sri Ksetra in Pyay
Arrive Yangon and transfer to Hotel. Check in time is at 14:00 hours. Rest of the day at leisure.
Accommodation at Hotel G (Good Room) or similar, Yangon.
Yangon retains one of the most complete ensembles of colonial architecture in the world. This walking tour in Yangon reveals some of the heritage buildings and the rich history of their functions and inhabitants up to the present day.
Transfer from your hotel to Yangon City Hall, located at the heart of the colonial-era city. Built in 1936 by Myanmar architect U Tin, it is a massive building with traditional tiered roofs, a combination of European design and engineering technology with traditional Myanmar flourishes. Nearby is the former Immigration Department. This building was designed in 1910 to be the country's most upmarket department store, Rowe & Company. With its corner tower and top-floor balconettes, the structure retains an air of its former opulence. Proceed to the High Court, a 1911 brick building designed by the architect John Ransome, and another outstanding example of the grand Imperial style.
Continue to Strand Road, home to the three-storey former New Law Courts, built in 1931 with an imposing colonnade of Ionic columns. Next stop is the 1916 Custom House, a large building with an elegant white tower and double-faced clock above the entrance. The Art Deco period Myanma Port Authority is noted for its imposing square corner tower, wave-inspired stuccowork, and bas-relief sculptures of sailing vessels. The former Irrawaddy Flotilla Company's graceful white building and colonnaded fa'e7ade is another landmark.
Walk past the red brick General Post Office to the luxurious Strand Hotel, built in 1901 by the Sarkies brothers, Armenian hoteliers. Here you'll enjoy well-earned refreshments (non-alcoholic) in the Bar, and later, transfer back to your hotel. Lunch at Linkage Restaurant.
An afternoon, visit to Bogyoke (Scott's) Market gives you the opportunity to see Myanmar's wide range of handicrafts. Stop alongside Kandawgyi (Royal) Lake to take photographs over the lake towards Karaweik Hall and Shwedagon. Enjoy the sunset at Shwedagon Pagoda, famous worldwide - its golden stupa is the 'heart' of Buddhist Myanmar. The Pagoda is believed to be 2,500 years old and the central stupa in surrounded by dozens of intricately decorated buildings and statues. There are always many Myanmar people praying and making offerings at Shwedagon, and it's a fascinating place to spend time watching the world go by.
Accommodation at Hotel G (Good Room) or similar, Yangon.
Today you start your overland journey with a drive to Pyay (Prome), situated near the world heritage UNESCO site of the ancient capital, Sri Ksetra, where extensive archaeological excavations have been made. An optional visit is included at the Commonwealth War Graves Cemetery near Htaukkyant, the last resting place of over 6300 Allied soldiers and home to a memorial to 27,000 more. Just short of Pyay visit Shwemyetmhan Pagoda (Shwedaung) which is home to a most unusual Buddha image - one who wears gold-rimmed spectacles. Lunch at local restaurant.
This afternoon, visit the busy central market, a cheroot-making workshop and the Shwesandaw Pagoda. This pagoda is similar in design to the Shwezigon in Bagan, and is one of the most sacred Buddhist pilgrimage spots in Myanmar. An enormous seated Buddha figure rises up from the tree line adjacent to Shwesandaw.
Accommodation at Mingalar Garden Hotel (Superior Room) or similar, Pyay
Early morning, drive to the outskirts of Pyay and cross the new bridge to Htone Bovillage and continue by local private boat to Akaut Taung, overlooking the Ayeyarwady River. Here hundreds of niches in the cliff face are home to Buddha images of all shapes and sizes, many of which have been carved out of the rock face. Also see villages and typical rural life on the way. Return to Pyay. Lunch at local restaurant.
In the afternoon, drive out of Pyay to visit the world heritage UNESCO site of the ancient Pyu Kingdom of Sri Ksetra, which pre-dates the Bagan period and is said to have arisen in the first millennium. Visit the site, by bullock cart (when available), and the tiny museum which houses artefacts unearthed in Sri Ksetra. Close to the museum there are two huge conical stupas, Payagyi and Payama, which you can view from a distance (the road is usually closed). Visible somewhat further away is the 5th century, 46-metre tall Bawbawgyi Pagoda, shaped like a bell jar, and the best example of this architectural style.
Accommodation at Mingalar Garden Hotel (Superior Room) or similar, Pyay
Depart your hotel in early morning for a full day's drive to Mount Popa on a sometimes-uneven road. Pass through paddy fields en route, a chance to observe daily agricultural life. Lunch at local restaurant.
Late in the afternoon, arrive at Mount Popa, mythical home of Myanmar's intriguing 'nats' (spirits). Check into Popa Mountain Resort, which has a scenic view of the plain below.
Accommodation at Popa Garden Resort (Deluxe with Balcony room) or similar, Mount Popa
777 steps take you up to the top of Mount Popa - an energetic climb rewarded by fabulous views from the top. Lunch at hotel.
Then, drive to Kyaukpadaung and visit the local market. On the way stop at the palm grove and see the toddy palm wine- and sweet-making workshops, as well as the skilful toddy-palm climber collecting the sap high up the tree. Proceed towards Bagan through Chauk, where you will see old Burma Oil installations ('nodding donkeys'). Pass by the banks of the Ayeyarwady River. Arrive in Bagan for a late check-in at hotel.
Accommodation at Villa Bagan (Superior Room Without View) or similar, Bagan. (Period until 30 April 2019)
Accommodation at Villa Bagan (Superior Room With View) or similar, Bagan. (Period 01 May 2019 - 30 September 2019)
Pick up from the hotel from where you start your tour to the busy local market, continuing with visits to a diverse selection of the most important pagodas and temples in Bagan. These include the Shwezigon Pagoda, a huge gilded temple built by King Anawrahta in the early 11th century and Gubyaukgyi (Wetkyi-Inn), a 13th century temple with exquisite murals of the 'Jataka Tales' (scenes from the life of the Buddha). Continue to the eminent Ananda Temple; one of the finest and largest pagodas, with a 51-metre (170-foot) shimmering gold tip plus four huge standing-Buddha images and numerous seated figures arranged around the interior gallery. Lunch at Sunset Garden Restaurant.
Later, visit a lacquer craftsman's workshop in nearby Myingaba village. Sightseeing continues with visits to Manuha Temple, built in Mon style in 1059; Nanpaya Temple, a unique sandstone monument that is said to have been the palace of King Manuha; and Gubyaukgyi (Myingaba) under the protection of UNESCO because of its ancient mural paintings. Observe a sunset in the vicinity of Bagan's ancient monuments.
Accommodation at Villa Bagan (Superior Room Without View) or similar, Bagan. (Period until 30 April 2019)
Accommodation at Villa Bagan (Superior Room With View) or similar, Bagan. (Period 01 May 2019 - 30 September 2019)
Optional: There is no better or more spectacular view of the ancient kingdom of Bagan than from a hot air balloon. This world-famous archaeological site of more than a thousand Buddhist temples scattered over a plain is at its best when seen from a bird's eye vantage, as the sun comes up gently over the Ayeyarwady River.
You will be collected from your hotel in Balloons Team's bus, and provided with a light breakfast and safety briefing while the balloons inflate, before enjoying a dawn flight lasting just under one hour. Flights operate daily from October through March.

This morning visit Minnanthu village by horse cart. Visit Tayoke Pyay, Payathonzu and Nandamanya Temples (noted for exquisite 13th century murals) and Kyat Kan Cave Monastery, a famous meditation centre in Bagan. Visit farming houses around Bagan. Lunch at Ayeyarwaddy River Terrace Restaurant.
In the afternoon, enjoy an excursion to the beautiful Nat Htaung Kyaung, a monastery famous for wood carvings, built in 1781 by a group of monks. Admire the monastery's collection of ancient Buddha statues and lacquer boxes. In the late afternoon, transfer to the airport for a late afternoon departure.
Accommodation at Villa Bagan (Superior Room Without View) or similar, Bagan. (Period until 30 April 2019)
Accommodation at Villa Bagan (Superior Room With View) or similar, Bagan. (Period 01 May 2019 - 30 September 2019)
Pick up from your hotel and drive to Pakkoku, an unspoilt small town famous for its tobacco trade and weaving workshops to see how characteristic Myanmar checked cotton blankets are made. Visit a local market and a cheroot maker's where skilled young women can make hundreds of cheroots in a day. Stop at a small thanaka market (traditional makeup and sunscreen for Myanmar people) and a workshop where traditional slippers and incredible wood carvings are made. Lunch at local restaurant.
Drive to Monywa (approximately 4 hours). On the way visit Thanboddhay Pagoda, about 20 Km from Monywa. The richly decorated central stupa has no less than 845 smaller stupas around it. Inside the pagoda compound are thousands of Buddha images (reportedly over 500,000) decorating every wall, archway and niche. Also see beautiful wooden carvings of the 'Jataka Tales' (stories from the Buddha's life) and a huge Reclining Buddha nearby. Arrive Monywa and transfer to your hotel.
Accommodation at Win Unity Hotel (Superior Room) or similar, Monywa
Take a local ferry across the Chindwin River and drive to visit a sandstone cave system in the Po Win Hills, named after a famous 'zawgyi' (alchemist) who once lived here. The Caves of Po Win Daung, numbering more than one hundred, are full of Buddhist statues and murals. Most of the images are in the 14th - 16th century Ava (Innwa) style, but some may be earlier. Nearby, visit Shwe Ba Daung which features unique pavilions cut from the surrounding sandstone and filled with Buddha images. Also visit a village whose main business is the extraction of copper. Lunch at local restaurant.
Afternoon drive to Mandalay (150 Km, about 4hours). Arrive Mandalay in the late afternoon and transfer to your hotel or to Mandalay airport for the late afternoon departure.
Accommodation at Hotel Sakura Princess (Superior Room) or similar, Mandalay.
You are picked up from your hotel and transferred to the jetty. En route, stop at the Zeycho vegetable market. Board your boat and travel upstream on the Ayeyarwady River from Mandalay to Mingun (11 Km, about one hour). The river is always busy - small longtail boats, bamboo rafts and ferries carry goods up and down the river. Visit the Mingun Bell, which at 87 tons is the world's largest intact bronze bell. Continue to the beautiful Hsinbyume (Ma Thein Tan) Paya and the unfinished, mighty Mingun Pagoda (built to be the worlds biggest) before returning downriver to Mandalay. Lunch at Small River Restaurant.
Drive towards the former royal capital of Innwa (Ava) located on an island between the Ayeyarwady and the Myitnge Rivers. A local ferry carries you to the island where your horse cart and driver await you - no cars are allowed here. Pass through the ancient city walls to visit the brick and stucco monastery of Maha Aungmye Bonzan (also known as Ok Kyaung) before continuing to the impressive wooden monastery of Bagaya Kyaung. If time permits, visit some village homes to see local handicrafts such as silk weaving, cane mats and alms bowls. Take a sunset stroll on U Bein Bridge, which at over a kilometre is believed to be the longest teak bridge in the world. It was reportedly built by local headman U Bein of teak salvaged from the former royal palace after the capital moved to Mandalay in 1859. Whilst the bridge has been repaired from time to time, the pillars are still original.
Accommodation at Hotel Sakura Princess (Superior Room) or similar, Mandalay.
Optional: Oriental Ballooning's flights offer stunning bird's eye views of the world-famous archaeological site of Bagan and the mystical landscape of Mandalay. There is no better way to enjoy a breathtaking view of the entire region, with the mighty Ayeyarwady River or the former royal capital at your feet and mysterious mountains on the horizon.
You will be collected from your hotel and provided with a light breakfast and safety briefing while the balloons inflate, before enjoying a sunrise flight lasting just under one hour. Flights operate daily from November in Mandalay, and run through March.

Enjoy a comprehensive tour of Mandalay, a highlight of which is the Mahamuni Pagoda, home to a spectacular Buddha image covered with thick layers of gold leaves. Stop at local workshops to see Kalaga tapestries being made, marble being carved into Buddha images, and gold leaf being beaten into paper-thin pieces, stone carving and bronze casting. Lunch at Daung Lann Gyi Myanmar Restaurant.
Next visit beautiful teak-carved Shwenandaw Monastery, the only Royal Palace building to survive World War II bombing, and Kuthodaw Pagoda, where the Theravada Buddhist scriptures are inscribed on 729 marble slabs, giving rise to its nickname 'the world's largest book'.
Atop Mandalay Hill lie glittering glass-studded temple walls which reflect the evening glow as you watch the sunset. Afterwards, visit Shwe Kyin Monastery to observe student monks at their evening prayers.
Accommodation at Hotel Sakura Princess (Superior Room) or similar, Mandalay.
Transfer to Mandalay Airport for domestic flight to Heho. Transfer from Heho airport down into the valley to Nyaungshwe (approximately an hour drive) on the edge of Inle Lake. En route, stop at Shweyanpyay wooden monastery. Transfer by own your local boat to hotel on the lake. Lunch at Golden Kite Indaing.
Pick-up from your hotel and travel by long-tailed boat across the lake to Indaing, at the western end of Inle, for one of the most scenic trips on the Lake. Passing through the busy village of Ywama, the largest on the Lake, with many channels and tall teak houses on stilts; enter a long, often tree-lined canal, either side of which farmers cultivate their land against the backdrop of the Shan Hills. Disembark at the jetty and walk for 15 minutes through Indaing village to reach the 14th - 18th century pagoda ruins of Nyaung Ohak. Many pagodas here remain charmingly unrenovated, with plants and even small trees growing out of them, making the area very atmospheric. A covered walkway popular with souvenir stallholders leads up to Shwe Inn Thein Paya, a complex of weather-beaten 17th - 18th century zedi; some newly reconstructed. Afterwards, continue by boat downstream past Yethar village, watching local life on the banks and birds in the trees until re-joining the Lake near Phaung Daw Oo Paya.
Accommodation at Inle Resort (Garden Cottage - Private Pond/Garden View) or similar, Inle Lake. (Period until 30 April 2019)
Accommodation at Myanmar Treasure Resort (2nd Row Deluxe Lake View) or similar, Inle Lake. (Period 01 May - 30 September 2019)
Explore a 5-day rotating market (if your visit coincides with the schedule) which offers an insight into the life of the ethnic Pa-O, Danu and Intha people who come to these markets to sell and buy goods. Enjoy a full day boat trip on Inle Lake - a photographer's dream. Its calm waters are dotted with floating vegetation and fishing canoes, to which scenic hills provide the perfect backdrop. See the lake's unique 'leg rowers' - Intha fishermen who row standing up with one leg wrapped around a single oar, leaving their hands free to manipulate the conical fishing net. Stop at Phaung Daw Oo Pagoda, the holiest religious site in southern Shan State. Lunch at Green Chilli Restaurant.
Visit a traditional silk-weaving workshop which uses wooden handlooms, and a blacksmith's forge. Pass endless floating gardens, where Intha lake dwellers grow fruit and vegetables. Continue by boat to visit Nga Phe Kyaung Monastery, one of the oldest on the lake, where you can see exquisite Buddha statues which are more than 200 years old. Return to your hotel by boat as the sun lowers and the light softens over the lake.
Accommodation at Inle Resort (Garden Cottage - Private Pond/Garden View) or similar, Inle Lake. (Period until 30 April 2019)
Accommodation at Myanmar Treasure Resort (2nd Row Deluxe Lake View) or similar, Inle Lake. (Period 01 May - 30 September 2019)
This morning, transfer by boat and road to Heho Airport (25 km - 1 hour) for domestic flight to Yangon. Upon arrival in Yangon, lunch at Shan Yoe Yar Restaurant and transfer to the hotel.
In the afternoon, visit Bogyoke Market (closed on Mondays and Public Holidays) gives you the opportunity to see Myanmar's wide range of handicrafts. Drive to a selection of Art Galleries and Antiques shops. There is a surprisingly high amount of very talented painters and artists in Myanmar. Some of them are known internationally. Their accomplishments can be admired and also bought in numerous Art Galleries and showrooms. Continue to the jetty along Strand Road and walk along Yangon River to see the busy harbour area, from where ferries leave for Pathein in the Delta and for upcountry towns along the Ayeyarwady River.
Accommodation at Hotel G (Good Room) or similar, Yangon.
Transfer to the Yangon International Airport for your departure flight.

customise the tour

  • Extend your stay and take a break at beautiful Ngapali beach
  • Opportunity to shop souvenirs at local markets and workshops
  • Unlimited photo opportunities throughout the trip


  • All sightseeing tour and transfer services with private air conditioned car/coach as detailed in our itinerary
  • Meals as specified in the itinerary (B=Breakfast, L=Lunch)
  • All entrance fees for the places as mentioned in the programme
  • Transfers and tours with English-speaking locally-stationed guides
  • Service charges, room tax and baggage handling
  • Horse cart in Bagan
  • Boat fees as mentioned
  • Accommodation at hotels as above mentioned or similar
  • Filtered drinking water and wet towels during the tour


  • Domestic airfare (Mandalay-Heho-Yangon)
  • Myanmar visa fee
  • Surcharges for throughout guides (English and other languages)
  • Optional Balloon flights
  • Personal expenditure, such as drinks, souvenirs, laundry, camera fees, communications, postage, gratuities etc.
  • Meals and services other than mentioned in the programme
  • Drinks with meals
  • Compulsory gala dinners during festive seasons and peak season surcharges which will be advised at the time of booking
  • Peak season in general is between 15 December to 15 January and 13-17 April
  • Early check-in and late check-out at hotels, if not mentioned in the programme
  • Travel insurance (cover against all cancellation costs, medical expenses, including repatriation, in the event of accident or illness)


  • Hotel prices for packages are quoted bases on hotels as mentioned or similar. Higher or lower categories can be requested and the price will be adjusted. The hotels featured in the package tour are subject to availabilities at the time of booking.
  • Meals at respective hotels are also included in the hotel prices if the itineraries mention lunch or dinner at hotel.
  • Additional charges during Festive Season: Christmas, New Year and the Water festival period may apply.
  • Supplements for compulsory Gala Dinners will be advised at the time of booking.
  • All hotels have special booking and deposit conditions and will be indicated at the time of booking. Nonrefundable deposits may be required.
  • Domestic airfares are quoted separately and subject to change in case of increases imposed by the airlines (ie. taxes, fuel costs, etc.).
  • There are 8 different airlines operating on the domestic route in Myanmar. Each company has slight different airfares and this pricelist is based on average airfare. Diethelm Travel will book the most convenient and direct routing. The final price can be confirmed once the tickets are booked and issued depending on available booking class and seat availability.
Tour code: PKMCAMEB

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