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Yangon – Golden Rock – Mawlamyine – Loikaw – Inle – Mandalay – Monywa – Bagan/Yangon

Duration : 17 days
Type of trip : off the beaten track

From North to South, alternating between hikes and cultural visits brings a great diversity to this journey. Bagan Temples, Inle Lake, Golden Rock and Kayah State are all highlights. The kindness and the smile of Burmese people will not fail to surprise you. An in-depth discovery of the most exotic of Southeast Asian countries.

Brief Itinerary

Day 1 - Arrival in Yangon
Day 2 - Yangon tour
Day 3 - Yangon - Kyaikto
Day 4 - Kyaikto - Golden Rock
Day 5 - Golden Rock – Hpa-An
Day 6 - Golden Rock - Loikaw
Day 7 - Loikaw tour
Day 8 - Loikaw – Nyaungshwe
Day 9 - Inle Lake boat tour
Day 10 - Inle – Indein – Inle
Day 11 - Inle – Mandalay
Day 12 - Mandalay tour
Day 13 - Mandalay - Alantaya - Monywa
Day 14 - Monywa – Pakouko – Bagan
Day 15 - Bagan tour
Day 16 - Bagan by electric motorcycle
Day 17 - Bagan – flight to Yangon, departure

On this journey, you will love

●    Immersion in the Loikaw area, inhabited by the Kayan and Kayah ethnic groups
●    Numerous ethnic encounters on your hikes and at markets
●    Lakeside villages and the floating life
●    The historical tour of Mandalay and the archaeological sites in Bagan

Day 1 - Arrival in Yangon

Arrival in Yangon. Airport reception and transfer to your hotel. Depending on your arrival, you ‘ll have the opportunity to venture into the colonial district, Chinatown and a local market to discover Burmese colors and smells. Overnight at the hotel.
Car: 10 km        Hotel

Day 2 - Yangon tour, discover the daily life of Burmese

Explore Bogyoke Aung San Market, a shoe and clothing market (closed on Mondays and holidays). Beautiful fabrics (batiks, silks, and cotton) are sold by the meter. Antiques and souvenirs are along the central alley. Continue your journey and head to the pagoda Chaukhtut Gyi - the tin roof of this pavilion shelters a colossal reclining Buddha of 70 meters long. The morning will end at the National Museum which displays interesting pieces, such as the lion-shaped Simhasana throne where sat Thibaw Min, the last Burmese king. In the afternoon, visit Shwedagon Pagoda, the most famous in the country for its 98 meters high stupa covered with gold. The setting sun darting its last rays on the golden dome offers a magical spectacle. Overnight at the hotel.

Day 3 - Yangon - Kyaikto, 150 km / 4h drive

Leave the ancient capital to transfer to Kyaikto and its Golden Rock Stupa. Stop several times along the way to meet villagers and discover their daily life. Wander in a large local market in Bego (80 km from Yangon). Arrival in the late afternoon at the small town of Kinpun (Kinmon). Enjoy some free time to explore at your own pace. Overnight at a local inn.

Day 4 - Kyaikto - Golden Rock, 4 - 5h hike with 1000m difference in height

Short transfer by car to Kinpun, the village of pilgrims between Kyaikto and the Golden Rock. Start a 13km trek on a winding path to reach the shrine. You’ll walk through beautiful undergrowth, rubbing shoulders with pilgrims, especially in the dry season. Along the way, shrines tell the legend of the creation of the temple. Once at the top, spend the night at the hotel near the Golden Rock to enjoy the special atmosphere of this site all night long!

Day 5 -  Golden Rock – Hpa-An, 120 km/3h30 drive

Today, a three-hour drive will take you to Hpa-An, the capital of Kayin (Karen). Discover on the way the harvest of latex and rice. Continue to a karst peak where you’ll find the cave of "Bayin Nyi Gu", a site known for its hot springs. A few kilometers further, visit another beautiful cave, the "Kaw-gun", whose walls are adorned with thousands of terracotta Buddha statuettes. Then continue to the foot of the sacred mountain of Karen "Zwe-gabin" to explore the Buddhist park "Lum-bi-ni" containing 1020 Buddha statues. Then, the other site "kyauk-kalut", which is a small peak in the middle of a lake offering a magnificent view of rice paddies. End the day with the paya "Shwe-Yin-Myaw, a pagoda on the banks of the river" Than-Lwin ". Overnight at the hotel.

Day 6 - Golden Rock - Loikaw, 370 km / 7h

After breakfast, transfer to Loikaw. Along the way, you”ll see the landscape subtly changing. In Loikaw, it is mainly the cultivation of maize, millet and rice that prevails. Overnight at the hotel.

Day 7 - Loikaw tour

Loikaw is the home country of Kayah. Kayah women are better known by the nickname "Giraffe women" given to them in the 1950s by the polish explorer Vitold de Golish. They are called Padaung ("Long neck") by the Burmese. Vitold de Golish had also given them the nickname "Elephant wives" because they traditionally wrapped plant fibers around their knees, but nowadays only for parties and celebrations. Early in the morning, visit the Thirimingala Market which is frequented by several ethnic groups including the Padaung. Then, a car transfer will take you to the hamlet of Pemsong, where you’ll meet the famous Kayah ethnic group, one of the emblems of Kayah State. Visit traditional homes and get acquainted with their way of life. Afterwards, head to a local musician’s home to hear and learn to play traditional instruments. Continue your journey in Kayah people’s lives, discover their traditional costumes, and try them on. Overnight in Loikaw.

Day 8 - Loikaw – Nyaungshwe

Transfer by car to Nyaungshwe, a small town near Inle Lake. Upon arrival, visit Shwe Yan Pyay, a lively teak monastery inhabited by many monks and novices. Then, a short transfer will take you to the small hill of Taung Che. The path climbs gently up to reach the winery of "Red Mountain". Enjoy a wine tasting of four varieties: Sauvignon Blanc, Muscat Selection, Syrah and Shiraz-Tempranillo while watching the sun set behind the mountains.

Day 9 - Inle Lake boat tour

Hop on a sampan and navigate on the Inle Lake, one of the most important sites of Burma. Located 900 m above sea level, this large lake (15km long by 6-8km wide) has an irresistible charm. Villagers grow many varieties of flowers, vegetables and fruits: tomato, beans, cauliflower, cabbage, eggplant, garlic, betel, melon, papaya and banana. Visit remarkable floating gardens, and lake villages mainly inhabited by Intha. You will be amazed by the unique method used by the fishermen of the lake, and certainly charmed by the peaceful beauty of the lake itself. Venture into Nga Phye Chaung Monastery and Phaung Daw Oo Pagoda (5 golden Buddha statues). Stop to find about some craft trades: a traditional cigar factory, a fishing boat factory and a silver jewelry factory.
4-5h boat ride

Day 10 - Inle – Indein – Inle 3-4h boat tour

Still by local sampan, visit one of the multi-ethnic markets of the region which take place once every 5 days. It could be either Nampan, Indiain, Maingthauk, Phaung Daw Oo or Ywama according to schedule. You will come across vegetables, fresh fish caught in the lake, Shan bags, farm implements, embroidered shirts and longis, tapestries, jewelry and all the usual memories. Then stop at Indein, the former Shan capital, to discover his garden of stupas. Get back to Nyaungshwe in the late afternoon.
-   4-5h boat tour

Day 11 - Inle – Mandalay

Head to Mandalay, which was the capital of the country until 1885. Upon arrival, hop on a local boat and cross an arm of the Irrawaddy River to reach Ava, the former capital of the Burmese Kingdom from 1364 to 1841. A local carriage will take you on a discovery trip: first the Daw Gyan pagoda, the ancient palace with its observation tower Nan-Myint, some religious buildings lost in nature, then Kyaung Bagaya. This wooden monastery is supported by 267 teak pillars - the largest of which is 18 m high and 2.7 m in circumference. In the late afternoon, stroll on the teak bridge of U Bein, built in 1851, the ideal spot to watch the sunset. Overnight at the hotel.
-  Car: 260 km / 6h -    1/2h horse and cart

Day 12 - Mandalay tour

After breakfast, start your journey at Zegyo Central Market. A short hike will take you to the banks of the Irrawaddy passing by small pagodas, craft districts and a flower market. Then hop on a boat and sail up the Irrawaddy River to Mingun. The sampan ride is long enough to appreciate fully the life of the river. Discover the site of Mantara Gyi, an unfinished pagoda that measures only one third of the planned height. Then visit Myatheindan pagoda (1817) and its gigantic hanging bell Mingun that weighs 90 tons. In the afternoon, explore the former royal palace and Shwe Nan Daw monastery, one of the most refined Burmese wood buildings. At the end of the day, climb Sagaing Hill to admire the sunset. From the top, 230 m above the plain, enjoy a beautiful panorama of the city beyond the crenellated ramparts of the palace, while to the east, in a bluish haze, are outlined Shan hills.
-    3h boat tour,            1-2 h walk

Day 13 - Mandalay - Alantaya - Monywa, 150 km / 3h30 drive

Hit the road and reach first Amarapura then Sagaing, where you’ll make some visits before getting to the area of Monywa.
Sagaing is located on the Irrawaddy River, downstream from Mandalay and was once the capital of Burma in the 14th century, from 1315 to 1364, just before the first period of Ava. Venture into a goldsmith's workshop and into Kaung Hmu Daw pagoda with its cylindrical Sinhala-inspired shape.
Before arriving in Monywa, discover the Thanboddhay Temple, which is supposed to house over 580,000 Buddha statues! You’ll see as well the great Buddhas of Alantaya: a large reclining Buddha and a tall standing Buddha.

Day 14 - Monywa – Pakouko – Bagan, 180 km/5h drive

Come aboard to cross Chindwin river and set off to explore the Buddhist caves of Powintaung, housing ancient murals and thousands of Buddha statues. Some of these troglodyte shrines were carved into sandstone, in a low mountain range inhabited since the very beginning of human settlement, as evidenced by the fossilized remains recently discovered by French researchers. Then drive to the village of Pakokku, a port located on the Irrawaddy River, lifeblood and vital communication axis of Burma. Continue your journey to Bagan.

Day 15 - Bagan tour

Bagan (Pagan) is the most amazing place in the country, if not all of Southeast Asia. Today, you will have a big day exploring the Old Bagan, the heart of the archeological area. It contains the most important temples, the walls of the ancient city and a museum. First head to the colorful market of Nyaung U, an essential place in the local life. The journey continues, visit the Shwezigon Pagoda (the most revered in Bagan) and the Ananda Temple (the most beautiful one) originally dedicated to the infinite wisdom of the Buddha, famous for its Indian architecture.
In the afternoon, visit the archaeological museum of Bagan which has on display a large number of religious representations and items found in the temples nearby. Next, a stroll in small villages will allow you to discover a typical rural life and some crafts: wickerwork and manufacture of lacquered products. Return to the hotel at the end of the afternoon.

Day 16 - Bagan by electric motorcycle

An electric motorcycle is the perfect means of transport to explore Bagan area. Riding on paved roads  and sandy paths with little traffic is pleasant and fun. Discover the imposing Dhammayangyi Temples, Htilominlo, Gubyaukgyi Temple in Myingabar with its stunning Jataka murals and create lasting memories. Continue your beautiful journey by venturing into monuments and bring your day to a peaceful end on the terrace of a temple... a perfect spot to admire the sunset. 
4-5h electric motorcycle ride

Day 17 - Bagan – flight to Yangon, departure

Depending on your flight, you’ll be able to enjoy some free time in Bagan. Transfer to Bagan airport and fly to Yangon. Departure flight. 


This trip is privately organized by iLOTUS TOURS. The price of the trip varies according to the size of the group, the level of services, the season and your reservation deadlines. The price published above is applied for a group of 8 participants, based on double/twin rooms in hotels. Click "Personalize this trip" to get the exact price for your group.

•    Accommodation and breakfasts in hotels on the accommodation list
•    Meals clearly mentioned in the program: B = breakfast; L = lunch; D = dinner
•    The entrance fee to the sites
•  Competent English-speaking guides throughout the trip except the free days when it is mentioned clearly: without a guide
•   Private air-conditioned car for all land transport except free days when it is mentioned clearly: without driver
•    One litre of drinking water per person per day
•    All logistic services necessary of the program.

•    International flights and airport taxes from/to your country
•    Visa fees
•    Means of transport not mentioned in the program
•    Meals not mentioned in the program
•    Tipping for services: local guides, crew member, drivers, porters…
•    Drink, telephone, linen or all personal expenses not mentioned in the "price includes" section.





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