Ambassador Experiences: Boats, Bikes and Balloons in Myanmar

Country: Myanmar

14 Days | $4,455

Inspired by our Journeys Within Ambassadors – seasoned travelers who have visited Southeast Asia with us before – this itinerary will give you deeper insight into what makes Myanmar such a special country.

Kick off your tour of Myanmar in Yangon exploring the highlights of the city and the stunning Shwedagon Pagoda. Next, catch a short flight to the ancient city of Bagan and take in the history and beauty of thousands of temples and stupas scattered across the plains with Oriental Ballooning’s hot air balloon tour as well as an up-close-and-personal bicycle tour of the temples.

From Bagan, enjoy a three-day river cruise on the RV Paukan cuise ship to Mandalay, stopping at villages and cultural sights along the way. Spend a day visiting with local weavers and other artisans, while also seeing the Mahamuni Paya – one of the most revered Buddha images in Myanmar.

The adventure continues with a flight to Heho and a transfer to Pindaya – famous for its caves featuring thousands of Buddha images. A day-long trek through the home of the Palaung hill tribe ends in an overnight stay in the Yasakyi Village Monastery. And another trek the following morning brings travelers through tea plantations and banyan trees, ultimately returning to the floating Inle Princess Resort ship for two nights.


Day 1 Yangon: Arrival

Arrive on your flight in Yangon where you will be met by your guide and transferred to your hotel.

Meals Included: None

Overnight at Sule-Shangrila Hotel – Horizon Club Room

Day 2 Yangon: Full Day City Tour

Enjoy a full day tour of the city center, taking in some of the highlights such as the National Museum, Bogyoke Aung San Museum, Chaukhtatgyi (a colossal reclining Buddha), and Karaweik Hall on Kandawgyi Lake. No visit to Yangon would be complete without spending some time at the stunning Shwedagon Pagoda, one the most venerable places of worship in Myanmar. Take in the array of gold and gems which light up around the giant golden dome as the sun slowly sets around you. Watch as the locals come here to make offerings before they return home for the day. Return to your hotel in the early evening.

Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch

Overnight at Sule-Shangrila Hotel – Horizon Club Room

Day 3 Yangon to Bagan: Exploring the Ancient City

In the morning catch your flight to the ancient city of Bagan, where you will be met by your guide and you will spend the day exploring the city. (Yangon to Bagan flight included)

Visit Nyaung U Market, Shwezigon Pagoda (the prototype for later Myanmar Stupas), Kyansittha Umin, Wet-Kyi-Inn Gubyaukgyi Temple with its exquisite mural painting from the 13th Century, and Htilominlo Temple. After lunch, visit a fascinating lacquer-ware workshop before continuing on to Manuha Temple, built by the exiled King Manuha, before stopping at Nanphaya, said to have been the residence of King Manuha. You will also visit Ananda Temple, an architectural masterpiece, as well as the Oakkyaung Monastery, which is decorated with multi-colored mural paintings. End the day with some breathtaking sunset views from the terraces of an ancient temple.

Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch

Overnight at Bagan Lodge – Villa Room

Day 4 Bagan: Sunrise to Sunset with Hot Air Balloon Ride

Early in the morning, before sunrise, Oriental Ballooning will collect you from your hotel and take you to one of their carefully selected launch sites which will give you the very best views of the thousands of temples and stupas that litter the plains of Bagan. Climb on board in the hot air balloon basket and rise gently into the morning skies to greet the sunrise. Slowly and magnificently, Bagan reveals its secrets. The breathtaking site of stupa after stupa, in their hundreds, appearing through the delicate mist is quite unforgettable. Once you have returned to land you will be transferred back to your hotel for breakfast. After breakfast, continue your exploration of this archaeological city and its unique sites. This will include a visit to Lawkananda Pagoda, East and West Phet Leik, Thatbyinnyu Temple, Shwegugyi Temple, the Palace site and Tharaba Gate. After lunch and a short rest, continue on this afternoon to visit Apeyadana Temple, which holds some well-preserved paintings of Mahayana. You will also stop at Dhamayangyi Temple, one of the bigger temples with some of the finest brickwork in the area. End your day with a peaceful sunset cruise along the Ayeyarwaddy River, before returning to you hotel.

Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch

Overnight at Bagan Lodge – Villa Room

Day 5 Bagan: Half Day Cycling Tour

This morning you will be met by your guide and will begin your cycling tour of Bagan. Escape the tarmacked roads and set off down the country paths to the temples. Your first stop will take you to the beautiful Ananda temple – considered by some to be Bagan’s finest temple. It suffered a lot of damage during the 1975 earthquake but after careful restoration it still maintains the majesty of its time. Next you will cycle through the countryside until you reach the impressive Thatbyinnyu temple, a stunning white temple which towers over all other nearby monuments.

Continue on to Dhammayangyi Temple, the largest structure in the area, and where you can learn more about the history of the King Narathu, also known as Kalagya Min, or ‘’the king killed by Indians’’.

As you make your way around this dramatic landscape, you will have the chance to stop at a local workshop and see how lacquer items are made, as well as taking some time to visit the local Minnanthu Village, an agricultural village which specializes in the production of sesame and peanut oil. Have some lunch at a local restaurant before heading back to your hotel early afternoon.

Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch

Overnight at Bagan Lodge – Villa Room

Day 6 RV Paukan Cruise: Day 1

You will be transferred to the Bagan Aye Yar Jetty at 11:30am to board the RV Paukan cruise ship. After a welcome cocktail and briefing by the crew you will enjoy lunch onboard, while cruising upriver. In the late afternoon you will disembark the ship to visit a typical river village before docking on a sandbank for overnight.

Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Overnight at RV Paukan – Main Deck Cabin

Day 7 RV Paukan Cruise: Day 2

Cruise all day with stop enroute in the morning to visit Yandabo, a village specializing in handmade pottery and where the peace treaty of the First Anglo-Burmese war was signed on Feb. 24, 1826. In Yandabo you will visit pottery workshops, the monastery and school. You will overnight in either the Ywar Thit Gyi or Pauk Myaing Pauk Taw village, which are a few miles away from the Ava Bridge.

Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Overnight at RV Paukan – Main Deck Cabin

Day 8 RV Paukan Cruise: Day 3 and Arrival in Mandalay

Cast off early in the morning and enjoy a sunrise breakfast for the last leg of our journey. At approximately 9:30 you will reach the Gawein or Sagaing Jetty where your guide and private van will be waiting to greet you and transfer you to your hotel.

Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch

Overnight at Mandalay Hill Resort – Superior Room

Day 9 Mandalay: Full Day City Tour and Handicrafts

This morning you will have the opportunity to observe many of the countries handicrafts that originate out of Mandalay such as tapestry weaving, gold leaf making, and marble carving. Visit one of the most revered Buddha images in all of Myanmar, the Mahamuni Paya, and see devotees come to pay their respects to the life-like bronze Buddha that has been covered in 7 inches of gold leaf. Afterwards, stop for lunch at a local restaurant before being transferred to your hotel to check in and rest. In the afternoon visit the Old Palace grounds; Kuthodaw Pagoda, known as the world’s largest book for its 729 marble slabs inscribed with the Buddha’s Doctrine; Golden Palace Monastery, noted for its exquisite wood carvings; Atumashi Monastery; and Kyauktawgyi Pagoda, where a huge image is carved out of a single block of marble. At sunset enjoy the panoramic view of the city from Mandalay Hill.

Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch

Overnight at Mandalay Hill Resort – Superior Room

Day 10 Mandalay to Pindaya

You will be transferred to the airport in time to catch your flight to Heho, where you will be met by your guide. (Mandalay to Heho flight included) From here you will proceed by car to Pindaya (60Km), a small, quiet town, located about an hour and a half away. Visit the Pindaya Caves, famous for the thousands of centuries-old Buddha images of various sizes, some carved into the face of the rock and some deposited in niches in the walls. Next visit a home based paper and umbrella making industry where you will be able to see all of the steps in the process starting with the gathering of local plants to the finished product – beautiful, decorative paper umbrellas. Afterwards, check into your traditional cottage hotel.

Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch

Overnight at Inle Inn Pindaya – Bamboo Chalet Room

Day 11 Pindaya: Trekking to Yasakyi Village Monastery

Start the day with a visit to Pindaya market for your basic supplies, before setting out for a three hour walk to Yasakyi village, home of the Palaung hill tribe. Your walk will start with a gradual but steady climb for around an hour to reach the ridge before an easy descent to the village where you will overnight at the monastery.

Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch

Overnight at Yasakyi Village Monastery

Day 12 Pindaya to Inle Lake: Trekking

This morning continue your walk through the hills for about 40 minutes until you reach the village of Danu tribe. The Danu cultivate peanuts, corn, potatoes on the hillside. You will be met by your driver here and after a 40 minute drive, you will arrive at Danu village of Lin Lay Inn and continue to Taung Paw Gyi on foot. This involves about an hour and half of trekking up and down hills. The path leads through villages, producing Shan Tea in the traditional way. You will see the drying of the tea leaves and pass through the tea plantations. From Taung Paw Gyi you will descend to Pindaya through the Banyan Trees. Return to Pindaya by early afternoon and drive to Ngaungshwe, where you will be taken to your floating hotel by boat.

Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch

Overnight at Inle Princess Resort – Mountain View Chalet Room

Day 13 Inle Lake: Day on Inle Lake

Today you will have a full day on and around the lake. You will see the unique method locals use to row their boats, fishermen with their own style of fishing, floating farms and gardens and a handloom weaving cottage with its own showroom. You will visit Phaungdawoo Pagoda which houses the five most revered Buddha Images in the southern Shan States and Nga Phe Cheung Monastery, formerly known as the Cat Jumping Monastery, which got its name from formerly teaching cats to do tricks but has hence stopped this practice due to overly worked cats. You can still enjoy the many roaming cats while learning about the Shan style Buddhas at the beautiful mid nineteenth century teak monastery. It is a great location to witness monastery life on the lake, as it is located right on the outskirts of a massive floating garden.

Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch

Overnight at Inle Princess Resort – Mountain View Chalet Room

Day 14 Inle Lake to Yangon: Departure

You will be transferred to the airport in time for your flight back to Yangon. (Heho to Yangon flight included)
Meals included: Breakfast

Tour Rate: Starting at $ 4,445 per person based on 2 people traveling with a $ 2,780 single supplement

Please note: This is a sample itinerary and does not reflect current hotel room availability. The pricing is not final until the itinerary has been confirmed and booked.

Price includes:

  • Air tickets Yangon – Bagan / Mandalay – Heho – Yangon
  • Boat tickets as specified above
  • Accommodation as specified above
  • Air-conditioned car/van with driver
  • Licensed English speaking guides
  • Tours and admission fees as mentioned above
  • Meals as specified in itinerary, including water

Price excludes:

  • Personal expenses
  • Visa fees
  • Airport tax
  • Drinks (except water) and meals not mentioned in itinerary
  • Tips
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