(Yangon, Kyaikhtiyo (Golden Rock), Mandalay, Bagan, Kalaw, Inle Lake, Ngapali Beach)
As you climb to the top of the illuminated Shewdagon pagoda by night, all of Yangon is laid out before you and you are all at once overwhelmed by the magic of this mystical city.
The capital of Myanmar – formerly known as Burma – is an enchanting mix of crumbling colonial grandeur, bustling local markets and beautiful natural lakes that are ripe for exploration. Elsewhere in Myanmar, you’ll play with the smiling children at a local orphanage; explore the natural majesty of remote Golden Rock; explore the Kyauk Ohnmin cave temple by boat; and take a sunrise hot air balloon ride over the expansive temple zone in Bagan. You’ll also visit Mandalay’s most spectacular temples and monasteries; take a horse cart ride through ancient ruins in Ava; encounter elephants in the jungles of Kalaw; explore the haunting ‘pagoda forest’ at Lake Inle; and relax under coconut palms on the pristine white sands of Ngapali Beach.
This extensive grand journey offers an immersive experience of Myanmar that goes far beyond the travel-guide overview of this mysterious time-locked land. From enjoying tea time with a Shan family to tasting the flavorful street food of Mandalay and exploring hidden markets usually off-limits to western tourists, your team of expert guides and private drivers will take you deeper into this complicated and thrilling country that has been protected from foreign eyes for so long.
Enjoy a personalized vacation that best suits your needs, developed by one of our experienced destination experts. Relax during your trip with our 24/7 support and expert local guidance.
Meet your driver for an airport transfer with a private vehicle.
At the end of the day many Yangonites leave their office and on the way back home they stop for some shopping, catch up with friends at a tea shop, visit a pagoda or go to a beer station. This is exactly what you are going to do as well this evening. The highlight of the tour will be the evening visit to the illuminated Shwedagon Pagoda – a magic and mystical moment at a time that it’s not very busy on the main platform. After the pagoda visit there will be local snacks to be tasted as well as a local draft beer or a fresh lime juice. The tour includes drinks at the highest tower in Yangon, a walk over the night market in downtown, tea and snacks as well as a simple local dinner shared with some locals.
Built in 1901 the Strand Hotel endures as a Myanmar landmark with its three-stories of Victorian colonnaded charms. This luxury resort offers large suites with lazily whirring ceiling fans, teak floors, and luxurious bathrooms. All rooms are tastefully furnished with a touch of colonial style and are equipped with up to date amenities. Adding to the splendid old-world ambience is a valuable private collection of local art and antiques. From the famous Strand Bar, move on to The Café that peers onto the street or to the famous Strand Grill with its elegant Bagan prints, chandeliers, and glass roof. Take pleasure in an afternoon tea or enjoy Burmese music in the Lobby Lounge.
Yangon is a sprawling city with a relatively small downtown area including several markets, colonial buildings, the Yangon River, and a very green area with tree-lined streets and several lakes. During this full day tour you will be shown the different faces of Yangon from the landmarks to the hidden markets that have seen only a few westerners. During the day you will visit the Sule Pagoda, colonial downtown, the harbour, The Strand, and one of the colourful local markets. The reclining Buddha will be visited just before taking a tasteful lunch of typical dishes from tribes from all over the country like Kachin, Shan, and Rakhine. A local market will lead you to a small station where you will take the famous circular train that will bring you right behind Bogyoke Aung San market before heading back to your hotel. The tour includes a drink at the Strand Hotel and lunch at a local restaurant.
Early in the morning, around 7 AM, you will be driven east from Yangon by private car with an English speaking guide. After about 45 minutes a quick stop will be made at a local monastery/orphanage where young boys from all over the country are taken care of by the monks and given education.
Continue onward where you will arrive around 11:30AM in Kinpun base camp. Here you will be transferred to a truck to the second base camp and then walk 1.5 hours until finally coming across the Golden Rock. For the rest of the day, explore the Golden Rock pagoda and the beautiful surroundings. In the evening you will walk back your hotel.
Mountain Top Hotel is adjacent to the Foreigners Registration Office and located on the top of the Mount Kyaikhtiyo and 10 minutes from the spectacular Kyaikhtiyo Pagoda (Golden Rock Pagoda) and 30 minutes from Ya-the-taung camp. The Mountain Top Hotel has a vantage point commanding a panoramic view of the lush mountain ranges below, where one can experience spectacular sunrise and sunsets.
Enjoy breakfast at your hotel before taking a visit one more time to the Golden Rock in the morning.
Afterwards, you will be driven back in the direction of Yangon in the afternoon. You will visit the city of Bago which used to be the capital of Myanmar under King Bayintaung and was called Hanthawaddy. In the city you will see Shwemawdaw Pagoda as well as the Shwetalyaung Buddha and the remains of the former palace. You will also see the Kha Khat Wain monastery which is one of the largest in the country.
From Bago, continue by local train and enjoy the beautiful country side scenery. You will have the opportunity to chat with local people on the train before your arrival in Yangon and be directly transferred to your hotel.
Fly from Yangon to Mandalay.
This tour is the perfect introduction to Mandalay. You will be picked up after lunch and taken to the Mahamuni pagoda and have a look at this century’s old Buddha statue originating from Mrauk Oo. It is a very lively temple compound where only men are allowed to stick gold leaves to the Buddha statue while women can watch and pray to TV screens around the compound with live images of the statue. Mahamuni is also an excellent place to shop around for the perfect Buddha statue (bronze or wood). Can’t find what you are looking for? Find a marble statue at the next stop which is the marble carving street. The old capital of Amarapura is a very quiet village nowadays where you only hear the sound of the weaving machines. You will walk through the famous Mahagandayon monastery complex with hundreds of monks, visit one of the small weaving factories and walk over U-Bein Bridge to the other side of the lake and get back by boat before heading back to your hotel.
A fun tour to get to know the real Mandalay, starting with a visit to a viewpoint near the Ayeyarwaddy River for a cold Mandalay beer during sunset. Continue to the busy Yadanar night market to have some traditional snacks and a walk around before heading to one of the most famous beer stations and BBQ restaurants in Mandalay. Your guide will order the food and make sure you’re satisfied. Continue before 8:30 PM to the excellent Mandalay marionettes theatre for a show performed by a mix of traditional dancers, musicians, and puppeteers.
The Rupar Mandalar Resort is a romantic boutique hotel in an exotic atmosphere surrounded by nature. The hotel has 16 rooms with modern facilities, swimming pool, tennis court, and a health & beauty spa.
Mandalay and the other former royal capitals around it have all been capital cities for a while for one major reason: they are all situated on the Ayeyarwaddy River. Feel the breeze of the river and imagine how it must have been to arrive by boat in Mingun or at the court of Ava. From the jetty in Mandalay you will be taken upstream to Mingun and visit the Mingun Pagoda with the big crack caused by an earthquake and the giant bronze bell. Take a leisurely boat cruise for about 3 hours downstream to Ava. A simple lunch packed in rattan baskets will be served while cruising down. Arriving in Ava, horse carts are ready to take you around this magnificent site with various ancient temple ruins that used to be majestic buildings during the 400 years that Ava was the capital. Return to Mandalay by car.
Fly from Mandalay to Bagan.
This is an ideal excursion which acts as an alternate to the temples of Bagan, a way to get behind the scenes in this part of Myanmar. Cross the river by private boat to Pakkoku and visit a local slipper factory, the market and see where the famous Pakkoku blankets are made. Continue by boat to Kyauk Gu Ohnmin cave temple that rarely sees foreign visitors. After a picnic lunch near this fantastic temple your guide and driver will show you how palm juice is collected and you will visit later in the day a local lacquer-ware workshop in Myinkaba village.
The Aureum Palace Hotel & Resort offers a little piece of tranquil paradise in Bagan. This unparalleled Resort and Spa set amid 27 acres of tropical landscaped gardens offers the ultimate in luxury for guests seeking an exceptional and unique vacation experience. Museum quality antiques and artifacts adorn each villa, complementing the majestic ambiance of the resort. Bedrooms are spacious and elegant while bathrooms are large and lavishly equipped with five-star amenities. Indulge yourself in the culinary pleasures of The Shan or The Veranda restaurants, or privately dine on your villa’s terrace for al-fresco dining. Allow yourself to unwind and feel at peace with yourself and with nature in this serene and awe-inspiring setting.
Simply a must-do when visiting Bagan. Early morning before sunrise you will be picked up at your hotel and driven to the launch site for a spectacular hot air balloon ride over the temple zone in Bagan. The mostly British balloon pilots are operating each balloon under highest UK safety standards and the views you will get are breathtakingly spectacular. After floating in the air and following the wind you will land safely and be welcomed back on the ground by a smiling crew serving cold champagne before taking you back to your hotel. Please note, this is optional and is not included in the tour price.
A full day tour by car, with an experienced guide through Bagan will show you the best known temples of the area. You will begin the day climbing Buledi Pagoda to get a first impressive view over the whole area. From here the guide plans his way to some of the other amazing temples that have been here for hundreds of years. Places like the Ananda, Dhammayangyi, Sulamani, and Thatbyinnyu will certainly impress you. Lunch will be taken at a local restaurant and around 4:00PM, you will continue the tour by horse cart to Pyathagyi pagoda to catch the sunset with some refreshing drinks served. The best part of this tour; whenever you see a temple you like, just ask your guide to stop to have a look at it.
Fly from Bagan to Inle Lake.
Transfer from Inle Lake to Kalaw with a private vehicle, driver, and English speaking guide.
Your guide will meet you in Kalaw and take you for a rewarding day in the forest where you will encounter elephants, their mahouts, and hill tribe people. Drive to the starting point and begin trekking through beautiful mountainous areas. Depending on your arrival time and how long you want to walk through the forest you will find yourself in the natural surroundings of the jungle. A delicious lunch with local specialities, often from Nepalese origin, will be served in a traditional village in the jungle or in the camp. After lunch it will be time to help the mahout washing and feeding the elephant. In the afternoon you will walk back to the main road and continue by car back to Kalaw.
Enjoy a dinner of Shan and Nepalese food at the local restaurant Seven Sisters.
The Amara Mountain Resort is located on a hill, on the outskirts of Kalaw. It takes about 15 minutes walk to reach the center of Kalaw. The Heho (Inle Lake) airport is 45 minutes drive from Kalaw. The lobby and all the rooms have genuine British colonial-style that is mixed with Asian features. All 10 comfortable Deluxe Rooms in the Resort are equipped with an open fireplace and bathroom that is made of marble and wood. There are a saloon and a separate dining room, where the traditional Myanmar or European food is served. The Resort Restaurant is situated on the terrace, where the guests can see a wonderful view of Kalaw while enjoying the food. There are a park-like garden and a 9-hole golf course in the Resort area as well as Spa facilities.
Transfer from Kalaw to Inle Lake with a private vehicle, driver, and English speaking guide with a stop for a tour of the Pindaya Caves.
As described in many books, the Shan culture is very interesting and rich and especially in Nyaung Shwe you still get a bit of the feeling of the former Shan kingdom of Nyaung Shwe. Begin with a visit of the Buddha museum which is housed in the former “Haw” (palace) of the last Shan prince of Nyaung Shwe (Mr. Sao Shwe Thaike, who later became the first prime minister of Myanmar after independence). Enjoy a nice Shan lunch at the Viewpoint restaurant and then continue the tour to the local market looking for some traditional Shan cotton and Shan traditional dresses. A visit to the ancient teak wooden Shwe Yan Pyay monastery with the oval windows is certainly giving the opportunity for some great pictures. You will be peddled around some small canals and pass floating gardens in a small wooden boat for about half an hour to see more of the local Shan life from the water. End the tour with a visit and some wine tasting of the excellent wines at the Red Mountain winery in Nyaung Shwe.
Villa Inle Resort & Spa is located beside the cultural and natural icon that is Myanmar’s Inle Lake. Spread over more than 20 acres on the eastern fringe of the lake near the village of Maing Tauk, the property features 16 secluded lakeside villas. All villas at Villa Inle Resort & Spa are designed to harmoniously blend in with the natural environment and feature hand-selected local paintings and antiques, high wooden ceilings, spacious living areas and well appointed bathrooms. Rooms include king size beds, air conditioning with heating facility, LCD television, WiFi access and lakefront balconies. Hotel Restaurant serves Western & Shan, Myanmar and Inthar cuisine. The hotel also features a spa services on site.
Inle Lake in southern Shan State is a vast natural lake surrounded by traditional Shan villages. On the lake itself the Intha people have been living for many centuries in villages built entirely on stilts on the lake. Today, you will be taken by a private motorboat around the lake to discover its natural beauty, visit the floating gardens and hopefully see some of the famous leg rowers as well as enjoy tea time at a local family’s house. On and around the lake, traditional markets are held in different villages according to a 5-day rotating schedule and today you will visit a colourful market frequented by Shan and Pao people living nearby. Afterwards, visit a local cheroot factory (where the Burmese cigars are made), floating tomato gardens, Intha Heritage house where the Burmese cats are bred, and if wanted you can visit a weaving factory. Return to your hotel around 4:00 PM, in time for sunset.
In the southern part of the lake the ruins of Indein are certainly worth a visit. Partly covered by vegetation, the area looks like a “pagoda forest”. Your guide will take you on a walk for about one hour to enjoy a fantastic view over the lake where you will then visit the primary school in Sae Ma Village. A home-made cooked lunch is served in a local house before continuing onboard a local canoe in the direction of Phaung Daw Oo pagoda. Whenever you are tired peddling yourself, you can continue by motorboat to the pagoda. From Phaung Daw Oo pagoda you will proceed by motorboat to your hotel.
Fly from Inle Lake to Ngapali Beach.
Nestled against coconut palms on the pristine beach frontage of Ngapali Beach in the Bay of Bengal, Myanmar, the luxurious resort consists of 56 villas & cottages, scattered throughout the 6 acres of 450 metres long beach frontage and tropical gardens, most with ocean views. The resort is designed in traditional South East Asian elegance and is constructed in local materials of various kinds of hard wood, stone carving, and marble.
Enjoy time at leisure to explore at your own pace, or relax at your hotel.
Fly from Ngapali Beach to Yangon.
Enjoy the usage of a private vehicle with English speaking driver and guide at leisure for a half day in Yangon.
Bob Feldman ,
November 19, 2013
"I wanted to let you know that our trip to China was great! Everybody enjoyed themselves. When planning a trip I am always concerned about the itinerary, the vehicles and the guides. All 3 of these were great. The guides were particularly good and in this case really made the trip a pleasure. Overall a great trip. Thanks for all you did."
Gloria DeWeese ,
October 10, 2013
"A wonderful trip and everything went like clockwork. Thank you so very much for all your assistance. I hope I will have a chance to work with you again."
Wayne Gavioli ,
September 04, 2013
"We just returned from our thailand/cambodia trip. It was fantastic. You did a great job. The guides were excellent as was the drivers. We loved the Victoria Hotel you selected in Siem. Wish we had more time. Thailand met our expectations but our expectations for Cambodia were low and they exceeded them. Loved the places selected for the included lunches. Certainly would use Kensington again"
Santo Filice ,
August 30, 2013
"Thank you for arranging our guided trip to Thailand - Vietnam. It was a memorable, and pleasant trip - a 1st for us with Kensington tours and a most enjoyable one. We found that we were able to maximize our visit of the the area without the concern of booking hotels, airline, finding parking and understanding the local language. "
Tim Mesarch ,
August 02, 2013
"Alexis helped us fit in all of the sites we wanted to see on our trip to Thailand and Cambodia, and suggested some more. It was valuable talking with someone who had been there and done that. The planning went pretty smoothly, and so did the trip. The local guides were all top-notch! "
July 25, 2013
"I highly recommend Kesington Tours. The planning of our trip to Cambodia was outstanding. Our advisor Alexis Mayer was unbelievably patient, knowledgeable and responsive. We planned the trip in every possible detail and Alexis was extraordinary during the whole process. Once we were in Cambodia, we had a tiny issue with the car. I was able to get in contact with Alexis right away and the problem was instantly solved. The trip itself was fantastic. Everything was very well planned and perfectly organized. The local guides and drivers were great. The hotels were very well chosen.
Great trip. I would definitely travel again with Kensington Tours."
Pennie Quintana ,
August 07, 2013
"Thank you so much for the amazing trip we enjoyed!! All our guides were fantasy. Joseph in Jakarta, July in Jojakarta and Deon in Borneo!! Wow!! Bless you for all your attention to detail and the outstanding communication to all my questions. You made me feel so taken care of and tended too!! "
Denise Abadi ,
June 21, 2013
"We have just returned from our trip to Malaysia and wanted you to know how much we enjoyed the itinerary you put together for us. Our guides were personable and very knowledgeable about the various places we visited. We were amazed by the sights, sounds and friendliness of the people we encountered. Needless to say, it was a most memorable trip and one of the
highlights of our traveling careers!
July 11, 2013
"Sunita, my wife and I had a wonderful time in China. The hotels were superb. Our guides were excellent. They spoke good English, were knowledgeable, and flexible. It was a wonderful trip. We particularly enjoyed the Yangtze River cruise. We will certainly consider your firm for international travel in the future."
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June 14, 2013
"We had a great time and our guide in Bejing was fantastic! Thanks much for all your help."
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