The Ancient Cities of Bagan and Mandalay, Magical Inle Lake


Once hidden from the outside world, Burma is “quite unlike any land you know about,” as Rudyard Kipling famously wrote. We’ll bring you to this magical land’s glittering gold-spired stupas, intriguing pre-Buddhist “nat” shrines, traditional artisans, tranquil mountain paths, and the highland villages of its hill tribes. We meet pilgrims and monks at the magnificent Shwedagon Pagoda, watch sunset over the pagoda-strewn plains of Bagan, and travel up the peaceful Irrawaddy by private boat to visit riverside temples. In the Shan highlands, we are welcomed into hill tribe villages, and we’ll boat into fantastic “floating” markets on serene Inle Lake. Burma abounds with visual delights, but it’s our encounters with its deeply spiritual people that linger in our mind long after journey’s end.

Itinerary at a Glance

Days 1-2

We join the saffron-robed monks and Buddhist pilgrims at the stupendous Shwedagon Pagoda and explore Bogyoke Market and the bustling waterfront of the Yangon River.

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Days 3-5

Two thousand brick pagodas from the 11th to 13th centuries rise majestically from the great plains of Bagan, a World Heritage Site. We climb to the top of one for a sunset view and take a private boat to a village on an island in the Irrawaddy River.

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Days 6-7

After “making merit” at the Maha Muni Pagoda, we journey to 14th century Sagaing, with its white hillside pagodas. A horse cart brings us to the ruins of Ava, the Burmese capital from the 14th to the 19th centuries, and we capture sunset photos at picturesque 200-year-old U Bein Bridge.

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Days 8-14
Hill Tribe Country / Inle Lake

Among Burma’s traditional hill tribes, we visit villages and meet a local shaman. At vast Inle Lake, famous for its leg-rowers, we explore by longboat, visit a wildly colorful floating market, and meet the abbot of a Buddhist monastery. Depart on Day 14 via Yangon.

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Mingle with monks at spectacular Shwedagon, watch the sun set over hundreds of pagodas at Bagan
Meet Akha, Palung, and Ann hill tribe people in their villages and markets
Boat village to village along the great Irrawaddy River
Explore magnificent Inle Lake, with its floating markets, stilt villages, and famous “leg-rowers”


Length: 14 days
Cost From: $5895  
Arrive: Yangon, Burma
Depart: Yangon, Burma
Lodging: 13 nights hotels
Meals: All meals included except 3 dinners (B=Breakfast, L=Lunch, D=Dinner)
Activity: Cultural Adventures
Trip Level:

Cultural explorations, optional hikes of 2-4 hours
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