From its ancient origins in settlement by Hindu Sakyas from India, through millennia of spiritual and political change, Burma has emerged with all that is quintessentially Burmese intact and as enchanting and enriching as it has always been. This tour takes you into the heart of old Burma – the sleepy town of Nyaungshwe on the edge of Lake Inle, the last royal capital of Mandalay, the vast Buddhist pagoda-studded plain of Bagan, and the splendour of the great pagodas of Yangon.
A nation gradually emerging from years of military rule
A rich cultural and artisanal tradition of silk weaving, world-class lacquerware and skilled puppeteers
A wealth of Buddhist culture evidenced by the multitude of stupas and exquisite carved teak monasteries
Colonial history and architecture from the era of the British Raj
A remarkably friendly and easy-going nation made up of over 135 ethnic groups eager to share their history and culture
A magical sunset at the golden-domed Shwedagon Pagoda, the greatest in Burma
New Year’s Eve on Lake Inle exploring the monasteries, pagodas, villages and floating gardens all built on stilts over the lake
The extraordinary complex of crumbling stupas at Indein in Shan state
Roaming through the National Botanic Gardens in Maymyo, with its stunning four-acre orchid garden
An overnight cruise down the famed Ayeyarwady River
The amazing pagoda-studded plains of Bagan, each structure unique in design and decoration
Days 1–2: Explore Yangon’s colonial architecture and the Shwedagon Pagoda.
Days 3–5: Fly to Lake Inle and explore the communities living on stilted houses.
Days 6–7: Wander amongst the Botanic Gardens and colonial architecture of Maymyo.
Days 8–10: In Mandalay visit teak monasteries, pagodas and the Royal Palace.
Day 11: Cruise the Ayeyarwady River to Bagan.
Days 12–14: In Bagan surveying some of the hundreds of pagodas scattered on the plains.
Days 15–16: Return to Yangon with farewell dinner at the renowned Strand Hotel.
A detailed itinerary for this tour is available. Click on the link above to view or download.
Singapore Airlines offer daily flights to Yangon. Contact us for competitive quotes and bookings.
Included meals are shown with the symbols B, L and D.
Friday 29 December: Arrive in Yangon
A transfer from Yangon airport to our hotel will be available for those who have booked flights through Academy Travel.
Saturday 30 December: Yangon
After a morning tour briefing, we begin our explorations with a tour of Yangon’s British era buildings including City Hall, Central Telegraph office and the Irrawaddy Flotilla Company, the heart of colonial architecture in Yangon. We take tea in style at the elegant Strand hotel before a welcome lunch in a local restaurant. This afternoon we visit the home of former General Aung San, a Burmese revolutionary and hero responsible for bringing Myanmar independence from British rule. The highlight of any trip to Yangon is a visit to the famed Shwedagon Pagoda, the largest and most significant in Myanmar. We visit at the end of the day when the sunset casts a brilliant light over the gold stupa and onto the temple platform below. (B, L)
Sunday 31 December: Yangon to Lake Inle
Today we take a morning flight to Heho and drive to Nyaungshwe, the major township of the Inle Lake region where we stop for lunch. En route we will visit the Shwe Yan Pyay Monastery, built from teak and more than 150 years old it features oval shaped windows which are unusual for this style of building. Continuing to our lakeside hotel, we check in and have some free time to relax before dinner. (B, L, D)
Monday 1 January: On Lake Inle
We spend the day exploring the lake which covers an area of 116 square kilometres. We see the famed leg-rowers casting their nets and visit the thriving silk weaving village of In Phaw Khon, the floating gardens, local markets and entire communities built on stilts. After lunch in a local restaurant we visit the Phaung Daw Oo Pagoda housing five sacred and almost shapeless Buddha images. (B, L, D)
Tuesday 2 January: Indein
We set out this morning by boat to the small village of Indein, famed for its ancient stupas. We visit the crumbling stupas known as Nyuang Ohak and the main complex of Shwe Inn Thein, weather beaten but largely still intact. After lunch at a local restaurant we return to by boat to our hotel. (B, L, D)
Wednesday 3 January: To Maymyo
This morning we head to Heho Airport and take a flight to Mandalay before the one hour drive to our hotel in Maymyo. This afternoon we visit some of the old colonial buildings, such as the British Garrison Church and Candecraig, the former British Officers club. (B, L, D)
Thursday 4 January: In Maymyo
We spend the morning exploring the magnificent National Botanic Gardens, established in 1915. There are over 480 species of flowers, shrubs and trees, including a stunning four-acre orchid garden. The afternoon includes a relaxed wander about the small town centre, and a drive past some of the beautifully maintained old residences of the British Raj era. (B, L, D)
Friday 5 January: To Mandalay
This morning we return to Mandalay. After checking in to the hotel, there is free time to relax before a visit to Amarapura – the “City of Immortals”. Amarapura was the capital of upper Myanmar before Mandalay, and is known today for its traditional silk and cotton weaving and for its bronze casting artisans. We visit the Bagaya Kyaung – a wooden monastery founded by King Mindon and the famous U Bein Bridge -150 years old and the longest teak bridge in the world. (B, D)
Saturday 6 January: Tour to Mingun
This morning we travel by boat to Mingun, located on the west bank of the Ayeyarwady River, to the site of the Mingun Pahtodawgyi Pagoda. King Bodawpaya commenced construction of this monumental pagoda in 1790. It remains uncompleted however, due to an astrologer claiming that once the temple was finished, the king would die. Consequently only the lower third of the structure was built. The edifice was badly damaged from the earthquake of 1839 and large cracks are visible throughout the structure. King Bodawpaya also had the Mingun Bell, a gigantic bell cast to go with his huge stupa, and today it is the largest ringing bell in the world. (B, L)
Sunday 7 January: In Mandalay
Today commences with the Kuthodaw Pagoda, known as the world’s largest book. Constructed by King Mindon the complex houses a complete set of Buddhist texts inscribed by hand on alabaster and marble. Next we visit the Shwenandaw Monastery, famous for its intricate wood-carvings of Buddhist myths and legends. Originally built as a royal apartment for King Mindon, this ornate teak structure serves as a fragile reminder of the old Mandalay Palace and is now a monastery. After lunch we visit the Maha Muni Pagoda which houses one of Myanmar’s most revered Buddha images and see the production of gold leaf in a local factory. This evening we attend a performance of the famous Mandalay Marionettes an extraordinary puppet troupe. (B, L)
Monday 8 January: Ayeyarwady River
Today we embark on our overnight cruise down the Ayeyarwady to Bagan. We meander downstream to Bagan, stopping at the small village of Yandabo. There is time to explore before heading back to the boat and continuing the voyage downstream, mooring at a point on the riverbank for the night. (B, L, D)
Tuesday 9 January: Arrive Bagan
We disembark after breakfast and drive the short distance to the hotel, where we check in have time to freshen up before lunch. After lunch we explore some of the most significant of the 2,200 pagodas in Bagan. We begin with the Ananda temple continuing to the beautiful Htilominlo Pagoda known for its elaborate plaster mouldings and see the vibrant frescoes adorning the Gubyaukgyi Temple. (B, L, D)
Wednesday 10 January: Mt Popa
After breakfast we drive to Mt Popa an extinct volcano that is home to Myanmar’s most powerful “nats” – pre Buddhist animist spirits still worshipped by many Burmese. We visit the Nat Museum with its life-sized statues and enjoy lunch overlooking Mt Popa. Returning to Bagan we visit a lacquerware shop to see the various stages of the techniques of lacquer production. This particular artisan has been a guest exhibitor at the British Museum and his work is the very best in Myanmar. (B, L)
Thursday 11 January: In Bagan
This morning we begin with the 11th century Shwezigon Pagoda, built by King Anawrahta founder of the first Burmese Empire. We also visit Dhammayangyi Phaya a massive walled temple and the largest in Bagan. (B, L)
Friday 12 January: To Yangon
We return to Yangon by air where the remainder of the day will be free to rest or make some last minute purchases before drinks and a final dinner in a local restaurant. (B, D)
Saturday 13 January: Depart Yangon
Transfers will be arranged to Yangon airport to coincide with your flight for passengers booking their flights through Academy Travel. (B)
Has a degree in South Asian History. She has a lifelong passion for travel and over 30 years experience as a tour leader on the sub-continent and in Asia.
With over 30 years experience as an administrator and tour leader on the great sub-continent she has a great deal to share with her fellow travellers. Judy has a degree in South Asian History and regularly presents courses at Sydney University’s Centre For Continuing Education on the history and culture of this remarkable region. In 2001 Judy published the definitive book on the history of Sherpa mountaineering – Tenzing and the Sherpas of Everest.
Hotels on this tour are all of a very comfortable four- and five-star standard. The Shangri-La in Yangon is well located in the city centre and within walking distance to Bogyoke Markets. The Irrawaddy Princess is a locally owned and run boutique ship with 20 air-conditioned cabins with private bathrooms and hot and cold showers.
What is included in the tour price? Unless otherwise stated in the itinerary, our tours include the following:
Any flights mentioned in the itinerary that take place during a tour
Land travel by private air-conditioned coach. Where appropriate public transport is also used for short distance travel on some tours
All accommodation in hotels or apartments as stated in the itinerary
Breakfasts, lunches and dinners specifically stated as included in the itinerary
Drinks at welcome and farewell meals. Other meals may not have drinks included
Background talks on tour, site notes and online resources
Services of tour leader throughout tour
All entrance fees to sites mentioned in the itinerary
Local guides at some sites
Tips for drivers, local guides and restaurants for included meals
Tours begin either at the arrival airport or the first hotel, depending on the itinerary. If you have booked your international flights with Academy Travel and arrive before the tour commences, we will provide airport to hotel transfers to the closest main city on your arrival, and to the closest airport at the end of the tour. These may be either individual or group transfers.
What is not included in the tour price? Open-age tours do not include the following:
Return international/domestic air travel unless those flights take place during the tour
Special taxes and airport levies that can only be paid in cash at the destination. We will advise you of these charges (if any) before you depart
Costs involved in obtaining visas for countries visited, where required
Travel insurance. We require all participants to have comprehensive travel insurance. A typical policy for one of our tours will cost from $160 upwards, depending on your age, pre-existing medical conditions, the countries you are visiting and the overall length of your trip
Lunches and dinners not specifically mentioned as included in the itinerary
Personal expenses such as laundry and phone calls
Costs associated with any activity mentioned as “optional” in the itinerary, or any suggested free time activity
You will be asked to sign an acknowledgement of these conditions when you book a place on a tour.
A deposit of $500 per person is required to confirm your booking on a tour. Final payment of the tour fee, insurance and any additional travel will be due 60 days before departure.
If you decide to cancel your booking the following charges apply:
More than 60 days before departure: $500*
60-45 days before tour start: 25% of total amount due
44-15 days before tour start: 75% of total amount due
14 days or less before departure: 100% of total amount due
*This amount may be credited to another Academy Travel tour within 12 months of the original tour you booked.
Unused Portions of the tour
We regret that refunds will not be given for any unused portions of the tour, such as meals, entry fees, accommodation, flights or transfers.
Academy Travel requires all participants to obtain comprehensive travel insurance. We offer a comprehensive policy with a reputable insurer if required.
Passport and Visa
A valid passport is required for all international travel. If you do not hold an Australian passport you may require a re-entry permit. Some countries require a visa to be issued before you depart Australia. We will advise you of all passport and visa requirements, but it is your responsibility to ensure that you meet passport and visa requirements before you depart.
Will the tour price change?
If the number of participants in a tour is significantly less than budgeted, or if there is a significant change in exchange rates Academy Travel reserves the right to amend the advertised price. If this occurs you will be given the option of cancelling your booking and obtaining a full refund. If an Academy Travel tour is forced to cancel you will get a full refund of all monies paid.
Will the itinerary change?
Occasionally circumstances beyond the control of Academy Travel make it necessary to change airline, hotel or to make slight amendments to daily itineraries. We will inform you of any changes as soon as they occur.
Full and final payment for the tour, airfare travel, insurance and any additional travel you book is due 60 days before departure. Payment may be made by bank deposit, cheque, cash or credit card. Please note there is a surcharge for payments made by credit card.
Academy Travel reserves the right to decline the booking or terminate the holiday of any traveller.