Classic Burma

Classic Burma

Style: TravellerCultural discovery away from the crowds
Duration: 10 days
Type: PrivateExclusive departures for you, your friends and family


Myanmar's long period of inaccessibility has left it relatively untouched by the outside world, with its landscapes, colourful cultures and strong beliefs all refreshingly unspoiled. Our Classic Myanmar tour delves into the history of this exciting part of Asia, starting in the capital Yangon with its delightful mix of British colonial architecture and ancient Buddhist monuments. Fly to the last royal capital of Mandalay to explore its superb palaces and monasteries and take a day cruise along the Ayeyarwaddy River. Travel by public bus to Bagan – surely one of the most visually stunning sites to be found anywhere in the world, a collection of centuries old temples lying on a vast plain and witness to the glories of a past civilisation. Finally you head to the gorgeous Inle Lake with its charming villages and unusual leg rowing fishermen, before heading back to Yangon. This trip is ideal for those wanting to pack the highlights of Myanmar into a limited space of time.

Tour Rating

Fitness ●●●○○ | Off the Beaten Track ●●○○○ | Culture ●●●●● | History ●●●●○ | Wildlife ●●○○○

Tour Pace


Tour Highlights

  • Great introduction to one of Asia’s most intriguing countries
  • See the main highlights of Burma in a limited time
  • Visit the magnificent Shwedagon Pagoda in Yangon
  • See the traditional leg-rowing fisherman in Inle Lake

Tour Essentials

Accommodation: Comfortable hotels
Included Meals: Daily breakfast (B), plus lunches (L) and dinners (D) as shown in the itinerary.
Group Size: Private
Start Point: Yangon
End Point: Yangon
Transport: Private car, local bus, scheduled flights
Countries: Burma

Tour Itinerary Notes

While our intention is to adhere to the day-by-day itinerary as printed below, a degree of flexibility is built in. Overnight stops may vary from those suggested and on occasions alternative accommodation, of a similar standard to that named below, will be used.

Tour Guide

Our guides are a key strength, chosen for their knowledge of and passion for the areas in which they work. All of our guides are carefully hand-picked, and are not just passing through these countries, but are usually locally born. Unlike some companies it should be noted we do not send a guide or tour leader from Undiscovered Destinations in the UK as we have every confidence in our locally appointed representative who is responsible for operating the tour on our behalf. Where possible you will have the same guide throughout your trip but on occasions it may be necessary to change the guide at one or more points during the tour.

Day 1 - Yangon

On arrival you will be met and transferred to your hotel. This afternoon visit Yangon downtown, which is unique with much of its colonial-era architecture still standing. You will find one of Asia’s most impressive collections of late nineteenth and early twentieth- century buildings, religious and secular. This walking tour will take you through downtown Yangon, focusing on its old colonial buildings. Your guide will walk you through the back streets at a relaxed tempo and explain you the history of each building some of them empty, some getting restored and some used for different purposes than when they were built. This walk will take you back architecturally in time. The walk ends with a drink at Rangoon Tea House, a cosy restaurant on lower Pansodan street, a new place where many of Yangon’s expatriates of today meet up for a drink or a meal. Overnight Eastern Hotel or similar.  


Yangon, formerly known as Rangoon, is a delightfully ramshackle city. Founded in the 18th century and becoming an important port it was destroyed by fire and then again suffered during the Second Anglo-Burmese War in the 19th century. Much of downtown Yangon hosts a splendid array of colonial style architecture dating back to the British occupation, including the wonderfully picturesque City Hall and the High Court. Many streets are thronged with people buying from the numerous stalls set up alongside the pavements, selling everything from fried insects to engine parts. Central Yangon contains the wonderfully gaudy Sule Pagoda, an ancient structure in the middle of a busy intersection, which gives a great picture of how Myanmar melds ancient spirituality and modern day commercial interests. The jewel in Yangon’s crown is however the Shwedagon Pagoda, a collection of stupas encrusted in gold which attracts pilgrims from all over Myanmar and is said to contain hairs from Buddha. Containing numerous images of nats (spirits) and Buddha himself, Shwedagon is immensely important for the Burmese people, and is where Aung San Suu Kyi addressed a crowd of hundreds of thousands demanding democracy from the military regime.

Day 2 - Yangon

This morning we visit the magnificent Shwedagon Pagoda. You will learn about the history of the pagoda and the daily lives of the people living in the immediate surroundings. Gain a deeper insight into the Buddhist religion, and how the spiritual belief is mixed with the belief in nats- the Myanmar spirits. Pass workshops, markets and monasteries along the way. The tour includes a traditional Burmese breakfast, offerings to monks and the pagoda, and a visit to a fortune teller. The afternoon is free to discover downtown Yangon with its heritage buildings on your own. You may wish to revisit Shwedagon in the evening to see this magnificent pagoda illuminated in all its glory. Overnight at Clover City Centre Hotel or similar. (BL)

Day 3 - Yangon- Mandalay

After breakfast transfer to the airport for your flight to Mandalay. On arrival you will take an excursion to the snake pagoda in Paleik, known for the three pythons that sleep by the Buddah statue, and are fed and washed by local worshippers. You will also visit the ancient temple ruins nearby, some of them over 200 years old and partly overgrown by vegetation, which receive few Western visitors. After checking into your hotel explore Mandalay visiting Mandalay Hill, Atumashi and Shwenandaw Monastery, noted for its exquisite wood carvings. Finish the day with a visit to Kuthodaw Pagoda, with its giant white marble slabs representing the world’s biggest book. Overnight at Ayeyarwaddy River View Hotel or similar. (B) 


Mandalay has one of the most evocative names in the world, together with other fabled cities such as Kathmandu and Timbuktu. It was the last royal capital of Myanmar, founded in 1857, but was not to last long. Conflict with ever expanding British interests in the late 19th century led to Mandalay being attacked and the royal family removed, and the city lost its brief significance. Today it is home to a wealth of attractions. The Royal Palace, controversially reconstructed in the 1990’s, replicates the walled city that was home to Myanmar’s last kings. Although not original, it gives an interesting insight into the architecture of the period and a wooden watchtower gives panoramic views over the complex. Mandalay contains numerous payas, monasteries and pagodas, including the intricately carved Shwenandaw Monastery, and Kuthodaw Paya, an astonishing complex which contains countless inscribed marble slabs. 

Day 4 - Mandalay

After breakfast you will transfer to the jetty for a leisurely day cruise along the Ayeyarwaddy River. Sailing past temple dotted hills the boat will stop at Sagaing to visit the Setkyar Thida Nunnery before continuing to Ava. As a former capital Ava is a magnificent site and you will visit the ancient temple ruins by horse and cart. After lunch you will continue to Amarapura by car, and have the chance to walk across the U-Bein Bridge, believed to be the oldest and longest teakwood bridge in the world. Return to Mandalay. Overnight at Ayeyarwaddy River View Hotel or similar. (BL) 


Amarapura is famous for its kilometre-long footbridge spanning Taungthaman Lake. A great place to meander along and much used by local people, you can watch Buddhist monks strolling by, fishermen in the waters below, and scenes of everyday Burmese life. Nearby is a working monastery which is home to several thousand young monks. 

Day 5 – Mandalay - Bagan

This morning take the public bus to Bagan where you arrive at lunchtime and transfer to your hotel. Drive to the Minnanthu temple area for a picnic lunch and visit two or three of the temples. Overnight at Zfreeti Hotel or similar. (BL)


No words can do Bagan justice. A vast plain dotted with innumerable stupas and temples, Bagan’s heyday was between the 11th and 13th centuries, when King Anawahrata embarked upon a massive programme of building that now fills approximately 40 sq. km. on the banks of the Ayeyarwaddy. Highlights include the temples of Thatbyinnyu, Ananda Pahto, Shwesandaw and the mighty Dhammayangyi, situated in the middle of the plain. Many temples contain images of the Buddha while others are decorated with ancient frescoes. While some see relatively high numbers of tourists, others remain tantalisingly unexplored and it is quite easy to find yourself the only person there, marvelling over the wonders of an ancient civilisation. Exploring these temples, finding your way through winding and darkened corridors to emerge onto a terrace with spectacular views over the whole area, is one of the highlights of travel within the whole continent of Asia. Watching the sun set and cast a dim yellow glow over hundreds of stupas glittering throughout the plain, is a breathtaking experience not easily forgotten.

Day 6 - Bagan

Enjoy a full day’s sightseeing tour with a guide who will show you the best known temples of the area. You start by climbing a pagoda to get a first impressive view over the whole plain. From here the guide plans their way to some of the other impressive temples that have been here for hundreds of years. Places like the Ananda, Dhammayangyi and Thatbyinnyu are sure to impress you. After lunch in a local restaurant you will continue by horse and cart to Pyathagyi Pagoda to enjoy the sunset. Overnight at Zfreeti Hotel or similar (BL)

Day 7 - Bagan

Begin today with a visit to Kyauk Gu Ohnmin cave temple which receives few western visitors. Continue to Pakkoku where the blankets of the same name are made. Board a private boat and travel downriver for two hours while lunch is served. You will visit Myinkaba village and its lacquer workshop before returning to your hotel. Overnight Zfreeti Hotel or similar. (BL).

Day 8- Bagan- Heho- Inle Lake

Take a flight to Heho and on arrival transfer to Inle Lake. Visit Indein village with its picturesque 16th century pagodas. Walk along the shores of the lake and take lunch in a local house, then continue exploring by canoe before finally heading back to the hotel. Overnight Thanakha Hotel or similar. (BL)

Inle Lake

Enormous Inle Lake is one of Myanmar’s key attractions. With a shoreline awash with stilt villages, it is famous for its fishermen, who row their boats using their legs – an amazingly photogenic sight. A boat trip around the lake reveals small villages with water buffalo wading into the water, and wooden monasteries that have been here for centuries. The surrounding area is mountainous and home to the Pa-O people, among other ethnic groups, who can be found wearing their traditional headgear. 

Day 9 - Inle Lake

An early morning start to begin your exploration by long tailed boat of this magical and unique shallow lake. Highlights include the boatmen with their 'one-legged' rowing style, the floating gardens and a local market. Overnight at Thanakha Hotel or similar. (BL) 

Day 10 - Heho - Yangon

Fly back to Yangon. Spend the rest of the day exploring the multiculturalism of the city, visiting the Indian quarter, Chinatown, a Sikh temple, mosque and synagogue among other sites, gaining a real understanding of the influences that have shaped Yangon today. Tour ends with a transfer to the airport. (B)

Arrival and departure transfers
Domestic flights
All accommodation
Services of English speaking guide / tour leader
Meals as listed (B – Breakfast, L – Lunch, D – Dinner)
Entrance fees for sites listed as part of the itinerary

International flights
Any airport taxes
Travel Insurance

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