Days
12
Price from
$1,925CAD

Myanmar’s where it’s at (formerly Burma). Check out the busy streets of Yangon and some pretty awesome archaeological sites in Bagan, hang in pretty Mandalay, lap up some mountain time in Kalaw en route to the ridiculously beautiful Inle Lake.

When we talk about getting off the beaten track, we’re talking about Myanmar: hill tribes who’ve rarely seen foreigners, one-legged rowing fisherman, 2000 temples in one place. Did someone say bragging rights?


Start
Yangon, Myanmar
Finish
Yangon, Myanmar
Country
Myanmar
Code
GTBR
Physical rating
Traveller’s rating
25 reviews
Ages
Min 18 , Max 39
Group size
Min 1, Max 16

Why we love this trip

  • Yangon is truly an incredible city, packed with awesome pagodas, incredible giant Buddhas and more history than you can imagine. Your leader will show you around downtown, then it's yours to explore

  • Touring the ancient city of Bagan by bicycle is a genius way to see it all. You'll have easy access to a wonderland of mind-blowing temples, stupas and pagodas

  • The boat trip to Mingun alone is great, but viewing the world's largest uncracked bell when you reach your destination is a crazy thing

  • A full day of walking through the hills and villages of Kalaw may require a bit of energy, but it's one of the highlights of the trip, a candid snapshot of rural Myanmar

  • The scenic long-tail boat ride along Inle Lake can feel like stepping into a fairytale. Could you get any more Southeast Asia?

Is this trip right for you?

  • Myanmar is a big country and there are many long days of travelling. Expect to spend a lot of time in a vehicle when travelling between destinations. This is a great opportunity to sit back, enjoy the passing scenery and get to know your fellow travellers.

  • The train trip from Yangon to Bagan is long and bumpy, and conditions on board are basic. But it's a rewarding, interesting journey, and an authentic taste of how locals travel. Plus you get to wake up in a new and exciting place.

  • Your cycling tour of Bagan sometimes goes off-road, through sand and dirt paths. So you'll need to be confident on two wheels.

  • Myanmar is a hot and humid country, even in winter. If you don’t take the heat too well, you might want to avoid doing this trip in summer.

  • There's a full day of walking in the hills and villages around Kalaw. While the walk itself is quite easy, you’ll need a solid level of fitness to get through the day.

Itinerary

This itinerary is valid for departures from 01 January 2016 to 31 December 2016. View the itinerary for departures between 01 January 2017 - 31 December 2017

Min Gala Ba! Welcome to Myanmar. Your adventure begins with a welcome meeting at 6 pm on Day 1. You can arrive at any time during the day as there are no activities planned until this important meeting. Check with the hotel reception where and when it will take place, or check the reception notice boards. Spend your free time getting amongst it today – glinting golden Shwedagon Paya and stroll around the Kandawgyi Lake.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Optional Activities
  • Yangon - Shwedagon Pagoda - MMK8000
  • Yangon - Kandawgyi Lake - MMK300
  • Yangon - Let Yangon Take You For a Ride Urban Adventure - USD41
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.
Hit the streets for an orientation walk around Yangon. Afterwards you'll have loads of free time to do your own thing. You might want to hit the massive Bogyoke Market and shop for some locally made handicrafts (if you hear someone call it the Scott Market, don't worry, you're still the right country! Sometimes they call this market it its old British name). There are plenty of temples and pagodas to visit too (in case you didn't notice). Later in the afternoon it's time to head to the station and get on your sleeper train to Bagan. It'll be a long haul (approximately 17–20 hours).

Notes: Overnight train travel in Myanmar is definitely a real adventure! Rail upgrades are continuing around the country, so expect a bumpy ride and possible delays. Trains are still one of the safest options for travelling around, and a great chance to experience how locals travel. There's usually a restaurant car attached to this train, but if you think you might get hungry it's a good idea to bring some of your own supplies just in case. Cabins are basic 4-berth compartments with doors to a corridor. There are no shower facilities, but there is a toilet at the end of each carriage. The trains in general might be a little dirtier than you are used to. It can get cold overnight on the train, particularly from November - February, so while a sheet and thin blanket is provided, you might appreciate an extra sarong or several thick warmer layers depending on when you are travelling (please see Packing below). You may also prefer to bring your own sleeping sheet. Make sure you have a stash of toilet paper or tissues too, because there probably won't be any in the bathroom (you know how it is!). Insect repellent can also be helpful. The trains aren't air-conditioned, but there is usually a ceiling fan and plenty of airflow. Now sit back and enjoy the ride!
Accommodation
  • Overnight sleeper train (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Yangon - City Orientation Walk
Optional Activities
  • Yangon - Sule Pagoda - MMK3000
  • Yangon - Bogyoke Market (Scotts Market) - Free
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Roll into Bagan at around 11 am. This train rarely runs to schedule, so place some bets with your travelling pals on just how late it will be. Let's go with 11 though. The afternoon is yours in this amazing place. Stretch your legs, grab a bite to eat and go exploring. Try and close your wide-open jaw after seeing that super duper stupa-studded skyline (say that three times fast with a mouthful of pickled bitter melon!) The Nyaung U market, one of the best in the country, is a great place walk around. The archaeological museum is also a choice option. But there are 4,500 brick and gilded temples calling your name, and the fun has only just Bagan...

Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Optional Activities
  • Bagan - Archaeological Museum - MMK5000
  • Bagan - Shwezigon Paya - Free
  • Bagan - Dandaree Culture Show - USD50
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.
Today it's Bagan by bicycle. A full-day, two-wheeled tour of temple town. Riding is the perfect way to take in the atmosphere of this place. You'll visit the heavyweights like Ananda Pahto, Dhammayangyi Pahto and Shwesandaw Paya, as well as some of the smaller ones. There are plenty of chances to jump off the bike here and there so you can climb stairs to lookout points where the really awesome views are found. The ride is flat and easy, so you don't have to be Lance Armstrong. But if you'd rather not cycle, your leader can arrange a pony cart to take you around some of the sights (for an extra charge).

Notes: Helmets are provided for all included sightseeing by bicycle, however if you choose you can bring your own to ensure the right fit and quality. To fully enjoy the day out, be sure to wear comfortable clothes, and don't forget your hat, sunnies and some long sleeves.

Hot air ballooning is a popular optional activity for many here, and you can see why. There's time to take a sunrise flight early this morning. Be sure to book in advance, as space will be limited. If you have pre-booked this activity you will be picked up and driven to the launch site. You will then float over the hundreds of stupas and temples below, to watch as the morning glow illuminates this awesome landscape. Flights can last from anywhere between 20 minutes and 1 hour, depending on conditions. When you land, enjoy a glass of bubbly, then be transferred back to your accommodation. The whole experience takes around 2.5 or 3 hours in total. Flights operate from October to March, with Premium and Classic experience options available.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Bagan - Temple bike tour
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Rise and shine! Bound out of bed before dawn so you can catch the ferry for your cruise up the Ayeyarwady River to Mandalay. Watch the wonderful world of local life stream by while you're chilling out on the boat. It's a good idea to bring some snacks today, although there will be a cafe/bar on the upper deck with simple meals available. You'll arrive in Mandalay late afternoon, then be transferred to your hotel.

Notes: Depending on the daily schedule, the ferry departs at either 5.00, 6.30 or 7.00 am, and arrives around 5.00 pm on the same day. Due to the unpredictable nature of water levels on the river between February and May, the ferry is subject to cancellations in these months. If this is the case, we will travel by road between Bagan and Mandalay.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Head further up the Ayeyarwady River to visit Mingun, a world-class archaeological site. The main temple here was never finished, supposedly because an astrologer thought the king would die if it was finished. Harsh. But it sure is impressive. You'll also find the world's largest uncracked bell, which is possibly even cooler than the temple. And a glistening white stupa to go with it. There are plenty of things to do with your free time here. You can check out the city by local transport (van or truck ride) and visit some cottage industries that make gold leaf (the sacred Buddha image of Mahamuni Paya is covered in six inches of it – and it is known to be over 2,000 years old). On the other hand, you can rest your legs and enjoy a puppetry or dance performance at the Mandalay Marionettes or Mintha Theatre.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Mandalay - Boat trip to Mingun
Optional Activities
  • Mandalay - Mandalay Hill - Free
  • Mandalay - Shwenandaw Monastery - MMK10000
  • Mandalay - Mahamuni Buddha Temple - ALL10000
  • Mandalay - Mandalay Marionettes - MMK10000
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Take a private bus to Kalaw (approximately 8 hours). On the way there, you'll stop in at the amazing U Bein Bridge. At 1.2 km long, this the world’s longest teak bridge. As the drive continues you'll move into the mountains of the Shan state. Keep that camera handy, because the scenery is awesome and there will be stops for photos. Your Instagram followers will be loving you for this, or maybe not loving you, just wishing they were here. Arrive in Kalaw late afternoon, with time to stretch your legs and get a feel for this beautiful spot, a former British hill station.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Mandalay - U Bein Bridge
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Head for the hills! Explore villages, farms and forests in the area outside of Kalaw. Feel that breeze? Welcome to the highlands, baby. This is the land of many ethnic minority groups, including the Palaung, Danu and Pa-O, as well as Indians and Nepalese who moved here during the British rule. This may explain why the chai is so good. Along your travels today you'll stop for lunch (which is included) at a local village.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Kalaw - Full day trek
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
Enjoy free time this morning in Kalaw. Take this opportunity to hit the local market and shop for some nice local handicrafts (or just some silly souvenirs for your friends back home). Or you can check out one of the beautiful Buddhist pagodas around. Stock up on snacks before your bus trip to Inle Lake in the afternoon (approximately 3 hours). Surrounded by the cool stilt houses of many ethnic communities, Inle Lake makes for fairytale kinda scene. Shimmering waters, floating gardens. Ahhh....
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Optional Activities
  • Kalaw - Village market - Free
  • Kalaw - Thein Thaung Paya - Free
  • Kalaw - Hnee Pagoda - Free
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Spend the day exploring the lake and the surrounding villages on a guided adventure. The transport: motorised long-tail boat. The sights: cool waters, floating tomato plantations, floating everything! (Even floating markets, if it's the right day.) The people: local silversmiths, weavers, cigar makers... and those fisherman, rowing their boats with their legs, how do they do it?. Visit some local villages towards the end of the day, where people will greet you with smiles and cute traditional handicrafts. Then make your way back to home base in Nyaungshwe.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Inle Lake - Lake and village tour by boat
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Enjoy some time to chill today. You might like to visit the Mingala morning market, or maybe Nyuang Shwe's oldest Buddhist monastery, Yadana Man Aung Paya. There's also a traditional puppet show held every night in town, and a nearby winery that has ah-mazing views over the lake (your chance to sample a wee drop of the local varieties perhaps, and to be all distinguished and cultured and civilised).
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Optional Activities
  • Inle Lake - Red Mountain Estate Winery Tasting - MMK3000
  • Inle Lake - Bicycle hire - MMK3000
  • Inle Lake - Mingala Market - Free
  • Inle Lake - Yadana Man Aung Paya - Free
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Tar tar, spectacular state of Shan. It's been real. Make your way to the airport in Heho for your flight back to the hustle and bustle of Yangon (approximately 1 hour and 10 minutes). Your trip ends upon arrival at Yangon airport.

Notes: Your leader can help you to make your way to your additional accommodation if you have booked in advance. If you are planning to fly out today, it's best you don't book onward travel before 4 pm, as domestic flights in Myanmar are often delayed. If you have time to wait in Yangon before your onward travel, your leader can suggest some things for you to do. You can of course just stay longer in Yangon and have a blast. Extra nights at your hotel can be arranged at the time of your trip booking.
Meals Included
  • Breakfast

Meals

10 breakfasts, 1 lunch

Transport

Aircon bus, Bicycle, Boat, Ferry, Long-tail boat, Plane, Train

Accommodation

Hotel (10 nights), Overnight sleeper train (1 night)

Included Activities

  • Yangon - City Orientation Walk
  • Bagan - Temple bike tour
  • Mandalay - Boat trip to Mingun
  • Mandalay - U Bein Bridge
  • Kalaw - Full day trek
  • Inle Lake - Lake and village tour by boat

Reviews

Our Discover Myanmar trips score an average of 4.72 out of 5 based on 25 reviews in the last year.

Discover Myanmar, November 2016

Richard Samuel

Discover Myanmar, April 2016

Kelly King

Dates & availability

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Important notes

1. Your trip finishes upon arrival at Yangon airport. Do not book your onward travel before 3pm as domestic flights in Myanmar may be delayed.
2. Please provide passport details at time of booking with exact name as per passport for internal flight tickets and train tickets.
3. A Single Supplement to have your own room is available on this trip and excludes nights 2 (Overnight Train) where you will be in shared accommodation.
4. Geckos can book an optional sunrise balloon ride over the Bagan (operating October - March). Please see Day 4 for full details of this activity. Places are limited and we recommend advance booking with your agent.
5. Departures from 1st January 2017 the trip duration will change to 13 days. Based on customer feedback an additional night will be included in Yangon on Day 12, rather than finishing on arrival at Yangon airport. Departure dates will remain the same, and you will be contacted with more details about itinerary changes before the end of the year. Please take this into consideration when planning onward travel.

Essential Trip Information

Want an in-depth insight into this trip? Essential Trip Information provides a detailed itinerary, visa info, how to get to your hotel, what's included - pretty much everything you need to know about this adventure and more.