Myanmar tour from Canada – 13-day Classic Myanmar trip to Yangon, Bagan, Inle Lake, Pyin Oo Lwin, Mandalay plus Bangkok.
Explore amazing Myanmar in depth with expert guides and in an intimate small group setting.
Formerly known as Burma, the beautiful and culturally rich country of 60 million in 100 ethnic groups is rapidly emerging from more than 50 years of military dictatorship. As Myanmar leapfrogs to the top of the list of travel destinations for so many travellers, its frontier feel is quickly disappearing. Now is the time to visit this extraordinary land, where the traditional ways of Asia endure and areas previously off-limits are opening up. The friendly people of Myanmar are thrilled to have tourists after being closed off to the West for so long. And the country is incredibly safe. Myanmar’s glittering golden pagodas, enigmatic ruined temples, picturesque countryside and colourful culture are ready for you to explore.
- Small group size (20 max)
- Experienced tour leader
- Expert local guides
- No forced shopping stops
- Authentic local cuisine
- Gratuities for local guides and drivers included
- Unlimited supply of bottled water
- Free Wi-Fi in all hotel
- Cultural show
- Village and school visits
Nights per location:
Yangon: 3 | Bagan: 2 | Inle Lake: 2 | Mandalay: 3 | Bangkok: 1
Meal Code: B = breakfast / L = lunch / D = dinner
Day 1/Wed: Departing Home City
Your Myanmar tour from Canada begins with your transpacific flight departing from Vancouver or Toronto or any other major Canadian city. You’ll lose a day upon crossing the International Date Line.
Day 2/Thu: Arrival in Yangon
Welcome to Yangon. Meet your guide on arrival and transfer to the hotel. The balance of the day is at leisure.
Day 3/Fri: Yangon (B/L/D)
Yangon is the former capital and the largest city of Myanmar. Once known as Rangoon (“end of strife”), it was founded in the 11th century starting as a fishing village and was transformed into a commercial and political hub after it was seized by the British in 1852 during the Second Anglo-Burmese War.
Our morning sightseeing includes Sule Pagoda and Independence Park by the City Hall. Sule Pagoda has been a focal point for contemporary Yangon and Burmese politics. As we drive along the streets, the guide will point out major buildings constructed during the British colonial era.
Later today we visit the Shwedagon Pagoda. Situated on a hilltop, the spectacular Buddhist temple thought to be more than 2,500 years old is the city’s most significant landmark.
Day 4/Sat: Yangon (B)
Our morning sightseeing includes Sule Pagoda and Independence Park by the City Hall. Sule Pagoda has been a focal point for contemporary Yangon and Burmese politics. As we drive along the streets, the guide will point out major buildings constructed during the British colonial era. After a stroll along lovely Kandawgyi Lake, we spend the rest of the day exploring Yangon on our own. We recommend the famous Scott Market which is very popular among jewelry and handicraft shoppers.
Day 5/Sun: Yangon – Bagan (B/L)
The early morning flight to Bagan takes 1 hour 20 minutes. Bagan is an ancient city located in the Mandalay Region. From the 9th to 13th century, the city was the capital of the Kingdom of Pagan, the first kingdom to unify the regions that would later constitute modern Myanmar. During the kingdom’s height, over 10,000 Buddhist temples, pagodas and monasteries were constructed in the Bagan plains alone, of which the remains of over 2200 temples and pagodas still survive to the present day. The plain east of the curving Irrawaddy River is one of the most wondrous sights in Myanmar.
The most prominent monuments we will visit in Bagan include Shwesandaw Pagoda and Ananda Temple. We will also learn about the local lacquerware during our visit to a traditional workshop. Viewing the vast forest of spires of temples from above is another highlight of our visit to Bagan.
Day 6/Mon: Bagan (B/L)
We start the day with a stroll through a local market. We then proceed to Shwezigon Pagoda built by King Anawrahta in the early 11th century. This is followed by a stop at Khay Min Ga Temple for a panoramic view of the pagodas and temples in the area. We return to the hotel after lunch. Later we drive to Bupaya Pagoda or Mingala Zedi Stupa to watch sunset over the Irrawaddy River.
Day 7/Tue: Bagan – Inle lake (B/D)
After a relaxing morning, we fly to Heho, gateway to the tranquil Inle Lake. The lake is lined with simple villages on stilts and dotted with unique floating gardens tended by farmers in their boats. The state of Shan, where the lake is situated, is known for its traditional papermaking and we can witness this craft during a workshop visit. This evening, we enjoy a traditional dinner accompanied by a cultural performance.
Day 8/Wed: Inle Lake (B/L)
This morning we explore the Indein Stupa Complex, a stunning forest of 1,000 ancient towering spires. We then get in a small boat to visit one of the lake’s villages perched on stilts. After lunch, we visit a charming silk-weaving village and stop by at one of the village’s floating gardens.
Day 9/Thu: Inle Lake – Mandalay (B/L/D)
Free morning to relax. Fly to Mandalay in late afternoon.
Mandalay is the second largest city and the last royal capital of Burma. Located 716 km north of Yangon on the east bank of the Irrawaddy River, the city has a population of 1.3 million and is the economic hub of Upper Burma. After hotel check-in we drive to the top of Mandalay Hill for a panoramic view of the historical city in glorious sunset.
Day 10/Fri: Mandalay – Pyin Oo Lwin – Mandalay (B/L)
After breakfast, we embark on a 67km drive to Pyin Oo Lwin. The scenic hill town was once known as Maymyo, named after Colonel James May (later Major General) of the 5th Bengal Infantry stationed there in 1886. The town located at 1,070 metres above sea level was developed during the colonial era and used by the British to escape Rangoon’s summer heat and humidity. Many of the locals in Pyin Oo Lwin still prefer to call their town Maymyo. Although the British have been long gone, the bungalows, villas and public buildings built by them still remain.
We will drive past numerous British buildings and visit one or two of them along the way, but the main reason we come here is the well maintained Kandawgyi Botanic Garden. The National Kandawgyi Garden complex is a 435-acre botanical garden first established in 1915 as the Maymyo Botanical Gardens by Alex Roger, a Forest Officer. The original site was 30 acres and modeled after the Kew Gardens of England with the help of an amateur gardener called Lady Cuffe. On December 1, 1924, the site, with a total area of 240 acres at the time was declared the Government Botanical Reserve. This is also the year when the Burmese Ministry of Forestry designated the Botanical Gardens a “protected forest area”. In the year of 2000, the garden underwent a major renovation. Since then it has been heavily used by the Burmese government to promote ecotourism. The Botanical Gardens has more than 480 species of flowers, shrubs and trees. The $5 admission fee (locals pay less) covers the butterfly museum, the orchid garden and the aviary.
Day 11/Sat: Mandalay (B/L)
Our full-day sightseeing in Mandalay includes Mahamuni Pagoda, Mandalay Palace, Kuthodaw Complex and a boat cruise on Irrawaddy River that takes us to Mingun Pahtodawgyi ruins and U Bein Bridge.
Mingun Pahtodawgyi is an incomplete monument stupa in Mingun, approximately 10 kilometers northwest of Mandalay across the Irrawaddy River. The ruins are the remains of a massive construction project begun by King Bodawpaya in 1790 which was intentionally left unfinished on advice from his astrologers. The Pahtodawgyi is seen as the physical manifestations of the well known eccentricities of Bodawpaya, who set up an observation post on an island off Mingun to personally supervise the construction of the temple.
U Bein Bridge is a crossing that spans the Taungthaman Lake near Amarapura, not far from Mandalay. The 1.2-kilometre bridge was built around 1850 and is believed to be the oldest and longest teakwood bridge in the world. Construction began when the capital of Ava Kingdom moved to Amarapura, and the bridge is named after the mayor who had it built.
Day 12/Sun: Mandalay – Bangkok (B)
Free morning to explore on your own. We transfer to the airport for mid-afternoon flight (1hr55min) to Bangkok. Transfer to the hotel on arrival and have the balance of the day at leisure.
Day 13/Mon: Bangkok – Home City (B)
Your Myanmar tour concludes this morning. Transfer to the airport to board your return home flight or continue on to your next destination.