Travelling from north to south, our Simply Myanmar holiday showcases this remarkable country’s classic highlights, along with plenty of downtime. Admire Mandalay’s U Bein Bridge, explore Bagan’s extraordinary temples, discover the communities of Inle Lake, relax on Ngapali Beach, and bathe in a gilded sunset at Yangon’s Shwedagon Pagoda.

At a glance

Cruise towards the Ayeyarwady Delta

Bathe in a Bagan sunrise

Sip a cuppa in a traditional teahouse

Marvel at the Buddhas in Pindaya Caves

Unwind on Ngapali’s golden sands

Graze at Shwedagon Pagoda’s night market

Highlights

Itinerary idea in detail

Includes international flights from a choice of UK airports, including London, Birmingham, Manchester, Newcastle, Edinburgh and Glasgow.

  • Day 1

    On arrival in Myanmar, you’ll be met by your private guide, who will accompany you to your Mandalay hotel.

    Make an afternoon visit to the iconic U Bein teak bridge. Built in 1782, when Amarapura (now a township within Mandalay) was the royal capital, this impressive piece of engineering claims the title of ‘world’s longest teak bridge’ and is still very much in use. Settle on the riverbank to watch the sunset (making sure you get there early to secure a good spot!), then enjoy an evening at leisure exploring the night market and the city’s fabulous eateries.

  • Day 2

    Explore the city’s key sights with a personalised guided programme. We recommend the eclectic stalls at Zaycho Market, the Kuthodaw Pagoda at the foot of Mandalay Hill, the Mahamuni Paya (where devotees add gold leaf to the Mahamuni Buddha) and the historic wooden palace of Shwe Nan Daw. Board a chartered boat at Mandalay Port and cruise along the Ayeyarwady River to Mingun for a walking tour of King Bodawpaya’s unfinished temple, the mighty Mingun Bell, and the enchanting Hsinbyume Pagoda with its wave-like roof. Drive to Sagaing, a monastic centre on the Ayeyarwady River, to visit some of the pagodas that cover the hillsides; get a scenic overview from the steep Shin Pin Nan Kaing Hill; or visit the 98 foot high Kaung Mu Daw stupa and a nearby paper doll workshop. End the day on a high by watching the sunset from one of Sagaing’s many viewpoints.

  • Day 3

    Start early aboard the luxurious RV Paukan for your overnight cruise from Mandalay to Bagan, passing dramatic scenery and unforgettable snapshots of daily life along the Ayeyarwady’s banks. Disembark for several shore excursions, including a wander around the village of Yandabo, known for its pottery, and as the historic site where the Treaty of Yandabo was signed, formally ending the first Anglo-Burmese War. Enjoy dinner in the dining room back on board, before mooring overnight along the river bank near the village of Shwe Nann Tint.

  • Day 4

    Watch the sunrise over Bagan – one of Myanmar’s most beautiful sights – from the deck of the Paukan, before disembarking and either heading to your hotel or beginning your tour of the temples. Whichever temples you choose to focus on, in true Selective Asia style we have a couple of gems up our sleeve, well off the tourist radar, which our guides will be eager to show you. With your head full of spires, visit a lacquerware shop to learn about this age-old process the region is famous for, and allow your guide to recommend somewhere for lunch. In the afternoon you may wish to visit the iconic temples of Ananda, where 1424 Buddhas line the walls, and Shwezigion Pagoda with its magnificent golden stupa. End the day with sunset over the temples, and return to your hotel for a well-earned sundowner.

  • Day 5

    Drive out of Bagan, passing fields and rural villages en route to the town of Chauk. Famous for oil and natural gas production, the town has grown from a tiny village to a thriving regional centre, and several ‘nodding donkeys’ punctuate the skyline. Mingle with locals in the vibrant central market, and enjoy a cuppa or two in the tea shops. Continue to the ancient town of Salin on the eastern Chin Hills. The area is dotted with pagodas, and the wide lake near the centre of town is covered with thousands of huge lotus flowers, creating quite the dramatic first impression on this important trading town. Explore the hidden tunnels at U Ottama Monastery, used by the monks during its time as U Ottama Fort; see the ornately-carved Salay Yoke Sone Monastery nearby; and wander between produce stalls at Salin central market.

  • Day 6

    Fly into Heho, then hit the road to Pindaya, stopping en route at Tha Yet Pyar (Flat Mango Village). Just 15 minutes from Pindaya town, this charming, well-kept village, is home to a Danu Shan community. Meet the villagers and learn about typical rural life in the region, spending time in homes, and seeing how the locals earn a living making brooms and cheroots to sell at nearby markets. Visit the village school and monastery, receive a blessing from the Head Monk, and learn more about Buddhist meditation. Head to a hilltop stupa for sweeping views of the village and surrounding countryside, then enjoy a traditional Shan lunch. The rest of your day will be at leisure to explore Pindaya town centre and Pone Taloke Lake, take time out at a terrace restaurant, and browse the interesting boutique shops.

  • Day 7

    Set out for the area’s top highlight: the Pindaya Caves. Walk deep into the caves, high in the hills, passing among thousands of Buddha statues and stalactites, and once outside again, enjoy panoramic views across Pindaya. Pause at the market then drive to Nyaung Shwe on the shores of Inle Lake. Stroll through the nearby Shwe Yan Pyay Monastery to wonder at this unique teak building, richly decorated with religious mosaics and golden ornaments. Continue out of the town to the picturesque Red Mountain Vineyards & Winery, close to the lake’s shore, to learn about the history of wine production in the region, sample the tipples, and order another glass of your favourite to accompany lunch. Return to Nyaung Shwe to board a small boat and cruise onto Inle Lake, passing local fishermen and taking in the stunning scenery, before settling into your resort and enjoying the sunset.

  • Day 8

    Spend a morning on the water, cruising in a southerly direction along the western bank as far as In Dein and Ywama, then navigating a narrow canal to a small Pa’O village. Disembark at the central marketplace and follow the old covered path to a 13th century monastery, and the evocative ruins of over a hundred ancient pagodas hidden by the lush deep vegetation all around. At the main hilltop stupa, pause to enjoy sensational views of the surrounding mountains, and Inle Lake in the distance. The remainder of your day will be at leisure to relax and soak up the unique atmosphere of the lake.

  • Day 9

    Fly from Heho to Thandwe, and take a shared transfer to Ngapali Beach where you can unwind with a few days at leisure exploring, relaxing and laying back on those golden sands…

  • Day 10 & 11

    Enjoy a few days at leisure to relax and reflect on your experiences.

  • Day 12

    Once in Yangon, your day will be at leisure until a late afternoon visit to the magnificent Shwedagon Pagoda: the perfect spot to enjoy the Yangon sunset. Explore the surrounding shrines as the city’s residents make their daily prayers at this incredible landmark; investigating the makeshift food markets that spring up as evening draws in, for a taste of Yangon cuisine. As night falls, the pagoda is brightly illuminated; its golden surface shining against the dark night sky. Continue to Little India, where lively eateries tempt you in with delicious scents. Visit the Tamil-built Shri Kali Hindu temple, and wander through Chinatown to the Cantonese Kwan Yin (or Guanyin) temple, before finally reaching 19th Street, lined with restaurants and street food stalls. Settle here with a cold beer and a selection of street food while you watch life go by, or choose from a wide array of restaurants for dinner.

  • Day 13

    Head for the bustling streets of India Town, at the heart of downtown Yangon, to explore the lively morning market, then hop aboard the ‘circular railway’ to weave your way through the city on this leisurely local commuter train, Disembark at Hledan, a University district, to visit the huge reclining Buddha at nearby Chaukhtatgyi Paya, then head to Sule Pagoda, one of the city’s great landmarks. Consult one of the pagoda’s fortune-tellers, and continue west to Mahabandoola Park and Burma’s Independence Monument to look out over the city’s grand colonial architecture. Pass along Pansodan Street to the jetty, as boat loads of people make their daily commute across the Yangon River, and see more colonial buildings including the General Post Office and the historic Strand Hotel. Head to a typical residential area, and stop to mingle with the locals over a cup of sweet chai.

  • Day 14

    Enjoy a morning at leisure before heading to the airport for your onward flight.

Accommodation options

While the itinerary price reflects the suggested accommodation, Audley trips are 100% tailor-made, and a specialist can help you select the option best suited to your tastes and budget.

Booking Policy

  • English speaking, local guide
  • All accommodation listed
  • Land transportation by private air-conditioned vehicles
  • Any domestic flights listed (unless marked otherwise)
  • All admission fees at attractions, temples and activities as mentioned in the itinerary
  • All meals listed
  • International flight reconfirmation.

  • Entry visas
  • International airport departure taxes
  • Any meals not listed in the itinerary
  • Drinks, other than water on activity days
  • Personal expenses (laundry, telephone, drinks, tip…)
  • Travel insurance
  • All other services not listed in ‘inclusive’

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