This 10-day tour of Myanmar gives you a real insight into the beautiful scenery, spectacular architecture and friendly people of this captivating country. You'll have plenty of time to explore the bustling capital of Yangon (Rangoon), as well as visiting the temples of Bagan and Mandalay and cruising the Irrawaddy, with plenty of opportunities along the way to meet local people, from nuns to craftspeople to schoolchildren, and learn about their lives and culture.
Today you'll arrive in Yangon, often still known as Rangoon. You'll be met at the airport and taken to your hotel to relax before a welcome dinner with your tour leader and travelling companions.
After breakfast, you'll enjoy a walking tour of the city. You'll admire the British colonial architecture and visit the Mahabandoola gardens, before a stroll through the Indian and Chinese quarters. Finally, you'll watch the sun set behind the spectacular Shwedagon Pagoda.
Today you'll take the short flight to Mandalay, where you'll head to a tea shop for a late breakfast including the local speciality, Mandalay Meeshay noodles. Afterwards, you'll enjoy a city tour, taking in the Royal Palace, Shwe Nandaw Kyuang or Golden Palace Monastery, famous for its ornate wood carvings, and Kuthodaw Pagoda, home to "The World’s Largest Book", a collection of 729 marble slabs inscribed with Buddhist teachings.
Today begins with a visit to Mandalay’s lively Jade Market for a spot of people-watching. Next you'll head out of Mandalay to Sagaing Hill, often described as Burma's religious centre, where 600 white-painted pagodas and monasteries house over 3,000 monks and nuns. You'll visit a nunnery to contribute food at the daily alms offering before joining the nuns for lunch and learning about their lives. You'll then head to U Bein Bridge, a 200 year-old teak bridge which spans over 1.2 km and offers spectacular views of the surrounding farmland.
Mandalay to Bagan
It's an early start this morning as you set off for a full-day cruise on the Irrawaddy. Along the way, you can watch the oxen working the fields and water buffalo wallowing in the mud, as well as observing the fishermen and villagers going about their business. You'll arrive in Bagan at sunset.
This morning you'll visit the magnificent Shwezigon Pagoda and the 900-year-old Ananda Temple, home to two Buddha images whose expressions seem to change as you move around the room. In the afternoon you'll visit the charming Minnathu village, where you'll meet the village blacksmith and other craftsmen as well as visiting the 12th-century Dhammayazika Paya, known as "the bad luck temple". Your day ends with a short climb to the top of one of Bagan’s monuments to watch the sun set over this vast ancient city.
Bagan to Inle Lake
This morning you'll fly to Heho airport, then drive to Nyaung Shwe, beside Inle Lake. After a brief stop at Shwe Yanghwe Kyaung (Shwe Yan Pyay) you'll board a local boat to start your journey along Inle Lake. Along the way you'll see fishermen demonstrating their unusual "leg-rowing" technique and floating gardens growing an amazing variety of fruit and vegetables. Time permitting, you'll also visit the weaving village of Inpawkhone, a silversmiths’ village and a community which produces of hand-made cigars.
Today starts with a visit to the morning market, before a canal cruise to the village of In Dein. Here you will explore the ancient stupas of Nyaung Ohak and Shwe Inn Thein Paya, dating from the 17th and 18th centuries. Some have been restored but many more are in a state of ruin and covered with thick foliage. It's an incredibly atmospheric sight.
Inle Lake to Yangon
This morning you'll transfer to Heho for your flight back to Yangon, where you have the afternoon at leisure to explore before a farewell dinner in the evening.
Today there's just enough time to pick up some last-minute souvenirs or perhaps take one last sightseeing trip before you are picked up at your hotel and taken to the airport for your onward flight or journey home.