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Myanmar Explorer - 15 Days/14 Nights

Yangon - Kyaikhtiyo - Bago - Mandalay – Monywa - Bagan – Kalaw – Inle Lake

This itinerary is designed for those who have a bit more time to get off the beaten path and experience rarely visited parts of Myanmar. You'll not only see the most famous sights in Yangon, Bagan, and Mandalay but also visit the famous Golden Rock Pagoda, ancient capitals, small villages and the largest reclining Buddha image in Burma. You'll trek near the old British hill station of Kalaw to visit an elephant camp, and have enough time to really explore Inle Lake.

Privately-Guided! Whether you are a single person, a couple, or a group, you'll have your own guide and driver for all airport pickups, dropoffs, and daily excursions, but the rest of your time is free to explore!
Choose your own dates! This is not a fixed-departure-date tour. Just let us know the dates that work best for you and we will arrange everything.
Customizable! Need more time? Less time? Want to see or do something that isn't included? Just let us know, and we will arrange it for you.

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Trip Highlights

  • Shwedagon Pagoda in Yangon
  • The "Golden Rock"
  • Buddhist caves in Monywa
  • Boat cruise to temple-studded Bagan
  • Trekking to elephant conservation project in Kalaw
  • Home hosted lunch at "Pagoda Forest" near Inle Lake


Day 1: Yangon
Arrive at Yangon International Airport where you will be welcomed by our representative and transferred to your hotel. Today, you will explore the famous landmarks of Yangon. Starting from a famous tea shop in the 1960s, visit the Sule Pagoda, the massive Chauk Htut Gyi Reclining Buddha before strolling around colonial downtown and the harbour. Enjoy a cocktail drink at the famous bar in the historic Strand Hotel and proceed to the Shwedagon Pagoda for sunset. Overnight in Yangon.

Day 2: Yangon
This morning, you will visit places related to the life of general Aung San who brought independence to Myanmar. Learn about this national hero who fought against the British and Japanese which led to the independence of Burma in 1947. You will stop by Yangon downtown, the National Museum and the mausoleum of Aung San’s wife. Lunch awaits you in Aung San’s former office.

In the afternoon, visit a lively local market in Insein Township at the north of Yangon. You can shop for local fruits and snacks before taking a local train ride back to Yangon. Mingle with local people onboard and catch your first glimpse of the Burmese countryside. Overnight in Yangon. (Breakfast, lunch)

Day 3: Yangon to Kyaikhtiyo
Early this morning, you will drive through a delta area en route to the Sittaung River and Kyaikhto Township. Arrive mid-morning at the base camp Kimpun, then transfer by 40 minutes in a small open truck to a bus junction. From here, you will hike an hour up to the summit where your hotel is located. Along the steps you will see vendors selling traditional medicated roots, spices, and refreshments. Take a rest after you check in at your hotel, the Golden Rock Shrine is just a short stroll away. Enjoy sunset from this beautiful site with breathtaking views and fresh mountain air. Overnight in Kyaikhtiyo. (Breakfast)
Day 4: Kyaikhtiyo to Bago to Yangon
In the morning, depart for Yangon, stopping over in Bago, an ancient capital of Mon Kings, for lunch. After lunch visit the Shwetharlyaung Buddha Image, the oldest reclining Buddha in Myanmar, and a World War II Memorial - a reminder of the strategic importance of Burma during that time.  Overnight in Yangon. (Breakfast)

Day 5: Yangon to Mandalay
Transfer to the airport for your morning flight to Mandalay. On arrival, you will be welcomed by our representative then, depending on the time available, you'll visit various sights of Mandalay including the temple ruins of Paleik. The snake temple in Paleik is known for the three pythons sleeping at the Buddha statue, which is seldom visited by tourists. After, visit Amarapura, the 18th century capital of Myanmar. Visit the Mahamuni pagoda, the most sacred temple in Upper Myanmar. Continue to the Mahagandayon monastery complex with thousands of monks and visit a small weaving factory. Walk over the famed U-Bein Bridge, a 158 year old teak wood bridge - the longest teak bridge in the world. Overnight in Mandalay. (Breakfast)

Day 6: Mandalay
Start the day with a boat excursion to Mingun village on the banks of the Ayarwaddy River. Visit the Mingun Pagoda with its big crack caused by an earthquake and the world’s largest ringing bronze bell. Return to Mandalay on a one-hour boat ride while wine and snacks are being served. At Mandalay, continue to Atumashi and the Shwenandaw monasteries which are excellent examples of the architecture of this region. Visit the Kuthodaw Pagoda, often referred to as the “world’s biggest book.” Later, head up to the top of Mandalay hill for a great view over the Mandalay fort.
This evening, visit the busy Yadanar night market to have some traditional snacks and a walk around before heading to the excellent Mandalay marionettes theatre for dinner and a show performed by a mix of traditional dancers, musician and puppeteers. Overnight in Mandalay. (Breakfast, Dinner)

Day 7: Mandalay to Monywa
After an early breakfast, make the three-hour drive to Monywa, along the banks of the Chindwin River. First visit the Thanbodday Zedi temple complex and the Boditataung Pagoda, both known for their extensive Buddha statuary, and the Shwe Thar Lyaung Reclining Buddha Image on Pho Khaung Hill, the largest reclining Buddha image in Burma. After lunch, cross the Chindwin and make the 45-minute drive to Powin Taung stopping along the way to admire the stone-cut pavilions of Shwe Ba Taung. Known as the “Hill of the Alchemists”, Powin Taung Hill boasts several Buddhist cave sites from as early as the 16th century. Numerous Buddha images were carved along the stone walls of these caves, creating a gallery of different images. Throughout the centuries, mural paintings were added, creating what some archaeologists call the richest mural painting collection in Southeast Asia. Overnight in Monywa. (Breakfast, Lunch)

Day 8: Monywa to Bagan
After an early start, depart for Pakkoku, one of the more famous towns in Central Myanmar. En route, visit Mau Ale Village, a fascinating ruined pagoda built in the 17th century. You can also observe the workshops of local incense makers and bamboo scale producers. After arriving in Pakkoku, visit the workshops of local blanket weavers (hand-woven!) and a marketplace specializing in thanakha (a traditional Burmese cosmetic made from tree bark). Afterwards, hop aboard a boat for your two-hour cruise to Bagan. Along the way, stop on the riverbanks for sunset photo opportunities. Overnight in Bagan. (Breakfast, Lunch)

Day 9: Bagan
An optional hot-air balloon ride at dawn is available, but pre-booking is required (does not operate between April 1st and October 15th). Enjoy breathtaking views of the temple-studded landscape of Bagan, which was once the capital of several kingdoms in Central Myanmar. The dry, arid conditions have uniquely preserved more than 3000 stupas and temples built here between the 11th and 13th centuries.

Spend the day exploring Bagan and see the ancient temples that Bagan is renowned for. Visit Buledi Pagoda to get a first impressive view over the area, as well as other ancient temples like the Ananda, Dhammayangyi, Sulamani, and Thatbyinnyu. After lunch in a local restaurant, visit a small scale lacquer workshop and see how some of the world’s finest lacquerware is made. Early evening, take a horse cart ride to Pyathagyi Pagoda for sunset with some refreshing drinks served. Feel free to stop whenever you see a temple you like! Overnight in Bagan. (Breakfast, Lunch)

Day 10: Bagan
This morning, visit the century’s old village of Salay which houses several old teak monasteries as well as some charming colonial buildings from the British period. Then head over to Kyaukpadaung and visit their vibrant local market. Afternoon, drive about an hour to Mt. Popa at 4981 ft. After lunch at the Popa Resort, explore Mt. Popa area, including the stunning Taung Ka Lat shrine and the Popa temple. Overnight in Bagan. (Breakfast, Lunch)

Day 11: Bagan to Heho to Kalaw
In the morning, take a flight to Heho. Upon arrival, drive another two hours to Kalaw, at 4300 ft (1440 meters) above sea level. Kalaw was once a favorite hill station for British administrative officials and a summer resort for their family during the hot season. A peaceful town surrounded by pine forests, it is home to the Palaung, Pa-O, Taung-Yo, and Dha Nu hill tribes of the Shan ethnic group. On arrival in Kalaw start a short trek of an hour and visit an elephant conservation project, where you'll have an opportunity to bathe and feed the elephants, followed by lunch in the camp. Overnight in Kalaw. (Breakfast, Lunch)

Day 12: Kalaw to Inle Lake
After breakfast, visit Kalaw market. See a variety of vendors selling beautiful flowers, indoor plants, fresh vegetables and medicinal herbs. Afterwards, drive about 2 hours to Nyaung Shwe, the biggest city on Inle Lake. The Intha people have been living for many centuries in villages built entirely on stilts over the lake. Today you will travel by private motorboat around the lake to visit their floating gardens and see the famous leg rowers. Stop by a local cheroot factory where Burmese cigars are made, floating tomato gardens, a weaving factory and the famous Nga Phe Chaung Monastery. After, continue by motorboat on the lake to your hotel. Overnight in Inle Lake. (Breakfast)

Day 13: Inle Lake
Inle Lake in southern Shan State is a vast natural lake surrounded by traditional Shan villages. On and around the lake, traditional markets are held in different villages according to a five-day rotating schedule. You will visit a colorful market frequented by Shan and Pa O people living nearby. After, cruise by motorboat to the famous ruins in Indein that are partly covered by vegetation and resemble a “pagoda forest”. You will enjoy fantastic view over the lake and visit a primary school in Sae Ma village. Lunch will be served in a typical local house at Tay Lar Village. Rest of the day is at leisure to relax and enjoy the scenic views of the lake. Overnight in Inle Lake. (Breakfast, Lunch)


Day 14: Inle to Yangon

Transfer to the airport for your short flight to Yangon. Upon arrival be welcomed and transferred to your hotel. In the afternoon, enjoy a one-hour foot massage and continue to Bogyoke market for some last shopping. The rest of the day is free for your last night in Burma. Overnight in Yangon. (Breakfast)


Day 15:  Depart from Yangon

Transfer to the airport for your departure flight. (Breakfast)


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Per Person Rates (based on double-occupancy):
start from: $4,440


Contact Us for advice on hotels and a quote based on your choice.


Please note that peak season supplements for stays over Christmas and New Years may apply.


Rates Include

  • All airport transfers to and from hotel by private car
  • All tours and excursions as outlined in the itinerary
  • In-country flights as outlined in the itinerary
  • All surface transportation as per the itinerary by air conditioned car with water and cool towels
  • Hotel accommodation with breakfast including taxes and service charge
  • Meals as indicated in the itinerary
  • Entrance fees to indicated sites
  • Services of a local English speaking guide for all visits and excursions

Rates Do Not Include

  • International airfare
  • Visa fees
  • Tips
  • Expenses of a personal nature
  • Supplements for stays on Christmas or New Year's Eve and mandatory gala dinners at the hotels on those dates

To Book This Tour

Please call us toll free at 1-877-362-2793 and let us know that you would like to book this tour. Then follow these instructions:

  1. Download, print, and fill out the Reservation Form for each person.
  2. Fax the form to us at 206-529-4803, or mail it to:

    Red Lantern Journeys
    1000 N. Northlake Way, Suite H
    Seattle, WA 98103

  3. Pay a non-refundable $500 per person deposit and we will initiate your reservations.
  4. Final payment is due 75 days prior to departure.

If your reservation is made less than 75 days prior to departure, the non-refundable deposit will allow us to initiate reservations. Full payment will be due immediately upon confirmation of all hotels and transportation services. If the services quoted cannot be confirmed, alternate accommodation or transportation will be arranged and the price will be adjusted accordingly.


Payments can be made by personal check, bank wire transfer, or credit card. Upon receipt of your deposit, we will initiate your reservations and send you a statement showing your payment. Approximately 4 weeks prior to your departure, we will send you a final confirmation package containing your itinerary and detailed information on the logistics of your trip.
Forms to Download (pdf file)
Reservation Form with Complete Terms and Conditions



Cancellation/Refund Policies


- Cancel more than 60 days prior to departure - forfeit your deposit.

- Cancel between 30 and 60 days prior to departure - forfeit 50% of the tour cost.

- Cancel less than 30 days prior to departure - NO REFUND of tour cost.

- Cancellations must be made in writing and sent via mail, fax, or email to Red Lantern Journeys.

- Refunds will be processed within 30 days of receipt of your written request.

- No refunds are available for unused services or tours during your trip.



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