The Heart of Myanmar (Burma)

National Geographic Journeys, Yangon to Yangon

Image by G Adventures

Tour description provided by G Adventures

Journey into the Land of the Golden Pagodas on a 12-day adventure in Myanmar (Burma). Cruise the mighty Irrawaddy River to the ancient city of Bagan, home to over 2,200 temples and pagodas. Drift to the floating villages on serene Inle Lake. Visit Kyan Sithar Umin monastery to meet a Buddhist monk, and climb Mandalay Hill for lovely views of the surrounding countryside. With its warm people and mystical culture, find enchantment in Myanmar.

What’s included

  • Your Journeys Highlight Moment: Kyan Sithar Umin Monastery Visit, Bagan Your Journeys Highlight Moment: Burmese Cooking Demonstration, Inle Lake Your Journeys Highlight Moment: Yangon Talk and Dinner, Yangon Your G for Good Moment: LinkAge Restaurant, Yangon
  • Arrival transfer
  • Tour of Mandalay
  • Boat trip and tour of Mingun village
  • Visit Sagaing and the ancient city of Amarapura
  • Irrawaddy River boat trip
  • Guided tour of Bagan archaeological zone
  • Toddy palm farm visit
  • Taungkalat Monastery and Mount Popa area visit
  • Visit Shwe Yan Pyay Monastery
  • Tour Nyaung Shwe by trishaw
  • Boat tour of Inle Lake including floating villages and markets
  • Visit a cheroot factory
  • Visit Phaung Daw Oo Pagoda and the Nge Phe Chaung Monastery
  • Tour Shwedagon Pagoda
  • Internal flights
  • All transport between destinations and to/from included activities


  • Talk with a monk about buddhism and daily life
  • Learn the basics of burmese cuisine with a cooking demonstration from a local chef
  • Travel past floating villages on tranquil inle lake
  • Explore the pagodas and monasteries of this ancient land


Day 1 Yangon Today is arrival day so there are no activities planned. You are free to relax and explore the city. Additional Notes: Please note that most nationalities requires a visa to enter Myanmar (Burma); please double check this with your travel agent or local Myanmar Embassy prior to your arrival. Included Activities: Arrival Day and Welcome Meeting Transport: Arrival transfer included. Private Vehicle
Day 2 Yangon/Mandalay (1B) Fly to Mandalay and explore this ancient city, including the Golden Palace Monastery, Kuyuk Taw Gyi Pagoda, Kuthodaw Pagoda, and Mahamuni Temple. Climb Mandalay Hill for magnificent views of the surrounding countryside. Included Activities: Mandalay Hill Climb Shwenandaw Kyaung (Golden Palace Monastery) Visit Kyauk Taw Gyi Pagoda Visit Kuthodaw Pagoda Visit Mahamuni Pagoda (Buddha Temple) Visit Transport: Plane (1.50 hour(s)) Private Vehicle
Day 3 Mandalay (1B) Embark on a boat trip up the Irrawaddy River from Mandalay to the riverside village of Mingun, enjoying the picturesque scenery of this river and the lifestyles of the local people who live and work on these waters. We continue by road to Sagaing. After lunch we visit Amarapura, a former capital whose name means "city of immortality." Included Activities: Mingun Village Boat Trip and Visit Sagaing Hill Visit Amarapura Visit Transport: Private Vehicle
Day 4 Mandalay (1B)
Day 5 Mandalay/Bagan (1B) After breakfast at the hotel, transfer to the jetty for the boat to Bagan (Nyaung Oo). The journey takes 7-11 hours depending on the time of year and water level. On board there is a small café selling drinks and light meals (sandwiches, snacks and instant noodles usually). Additional Notes: When water levels are insufficient for the boat, we will use the bus for that part of the journey. Boat cancellations typically happen between April and September. Included Activities: Ayeyarwady River Cruise Transport: Private Vehicle
Day 6 Bagan (1B) Enjoy two days exploring Bagan, the first (and very beautiful) capital of the Burmese and founded in the 11th century. This is one the most important temples and pagoda complexes in Asia. We'll wander local markets, historical pagodas, a handicraft workshop, a local monastery, and ancient temples. Included Activities: Bagan Guided Tour Kyan Sithar Umin Monastery Visit Transport: Private Vehicle
Day 7 Bagan (1B) You have the option to take a hot-air balloon flight over the plains of Bagan. Included Activities: Toddy Palm Farm Visit Taungkalat Monastery and Mount Popa Area Visit Transport: Private Vehicle
Day 8 Bagan/Inle Lake (1B) This morning, fly from Bagan to Heho and then travel by road to Nyaung Shwe, the gateway village to Inle Lake. Along the way, stop at the wooden Shwe Yan Pyay Monastery, which features beautiful carvings and a collection of Buddha images. Also visit around Nyaung Shwe by cycle rickshaw, passing the many monasteries and cruising along quiet residential streets. We then board a boat and set off down the canal toward the main part of the lake, passing villages built on stilts over the lake, inhabited by the local Intha people. Included Activities: Nyaung Shwe Visit Transport: Plane (1.75 hour(s)) Private Vehicle (0.75 hour(s)) Board a boat and set off down the canal toward the main part of Inle lake. Pass villages built on stilts over the lake, inhabited by the local Intha people. Observe the leg-rowing fishermen and see their floating gardens built up from strips of water hyacinth and mud and anchored to the bottom with bamboo poles. Boat (1.00 hour(s))
Day 9 Inle Lake (1B, 1L) Depending on its location, we start with a visit to the morning market, which rotates locations on a five-day basis. (Note: there are no markets on full-moon or dark-moon days.) Our boat then takes us down a winding river to Inthien, with its one thousand stupas dotting the hillside. Back out onto the lake we visit Phaung Daw Oo Pagoda, the lake’s main pagoda and monastery, which contains five sacred Buddha images covered in gold leaf. Explore the local crafts of Inle Lake with a stop at the weaving village of Inpawkhone and a cheroot factory, where typical Burmese cigars are made by hand. Mid-day, we are welcomed into a local chef's home and enjoy a home cooked meal of traditional Burmese dishes. This is a memorable demonstration and meal and a chance to learn more about family life and traditions in Myanmar. Included Activities: Morning Market Visit Phaung Daw Oo Pagoda Visit Nga Phe Chaung Monastery Visit Cheroot Factory Visit Burmese Cooking Demonstration Transport: Boat
Day 10 Inle Lake/Kalaw (1B) Travel by boat and bus to the cooler air of this former British hill station. Enjoy some free time in the afternoon. Transport: Boat (1.00 hour(s)) Private Vehicle (1.50-2.00 hours)
Day 11 Kalaw/Yangon (1B, 1D) Fly back to Yangon and visit the stunning Shwedagon Pagoda, then take some free time to explore and shop in the old capital. Tonight, enjoy a lecture and farewell dinner at a G Adventures for Good-supported project — LinkAge Restaurant. This social enterprise trains local youth for careers in the hospitality industry. Included Activities: Shwedagon Pagoda Visit LinkAge Restaurant Yangon Talk and Dinner Transport: Private Vehicle (0.75 hour(s)) Plane (1.00 hour(s)) Transfer to hotel. Private Vehicle
Day 12 Yangon (1B) Depart any time today. Included Activities: Departure Day