local canoes and golden temple on the Irrawaddy River in Burma

Taking goods to market on the Irrawaddy

The rural rhythms of Burma create a dreamscape for travelers. Goods are still taken to market by boat, bullock carts and bicycles are more numerous than cars, and an ancient Buddhist culture thrives in gold-spired temples.

Photo by Alan Tobey

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Burma: Wonders of the Golden Land

The Ancient Cities of Bagan and Mandalay, Magical Inle Lake

Burma: Wonders of the Golden Land route-map

Trip Details at-a-Glance

Cost From: $6195  
Length: 14 days
Arrive: Yangon, Burma
Depart: Yangon, Burma
Lodging: 13 nights hotels
Meals: All meals included except 3 dinners
Activity: Cultural Adventures
Trip Level: Cultural explorations, optional hikes of 2-4 hours


  • Magical Shwedagon Pagoda, with its golden spires
  • Enjoy a sunset at Bagan, a majestic plain filled with thousands of ancient pagodas
  • Meet fascinating hilltribe people in traditional villages
  • Ethereal Inle Lake boasts stilt villages, floating gardens, and fascinating leg-rowers
  • Boat along the great Irrawaddy River
  • Enchanting accommodations include an atmospheric waterfront chalet

Loved the trip! Myanmar is a magical place, particularly the ‘off the beaten track’ aspects of the trip.Sara Z.—Alexandria, VA

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Choosing the Right Trip

We work hard to help you choose the right trip for you, paying attention to your individual interests, abilities, and needs. If you have questions about the level of comfort or any of the activities described in this itinerary, please contact us.


We are proud to have an exceptionally high rate of repeat travelers. For more information, we would be happy to put you in touch with a client who has traveled with us.

Early Sign-up Discount!

$400 discount per person
Nov 2016 through Feb 2017 departures

Limited to the first six sign-ups per departure. Please note that these special offers cannot be combined with other discounts.

Long hidden from the outside world, Burma is a land of ancient history, deep cultural traditions, and extraordinary landscapes—it’s captivated us for years! Join us as we explore Yangon, where towering Shwedagon Pagoda glints in the sunlight, watch a sunset over a thousand splendid temples in Bagan, and journey along the peaceful waters of the great Irrawaddy River in Mandalay. In Shan country, we visit remote hilltribe villages and travel by boat to see bustling markets on the shores of crystalline Inle Lake. From one picturesque spot to another, linked by wonderful accommodations, excellent cuisine, and friendly, deeply spiritual people, this trip is as enchanting to the eyes as it is to the soul.

Itinerary at a Glance

For a more complete description, Download Full Detailed Itinerary

Days 1-2

In Yangon, we join Buddhist pilgrims at the immense Shwedagon Pagoda, a golden, jewel-encrusted temple that Rudyard Kipling called a “beautiful, winking wonder that blazed in the sun.” We’ll also view the magnificent reclining Buddha at Kyaukhtatgyi and stroll alongside shoppers in the lively Bogyoke Market.

Days 3-5

Once the capital of ancient kingdoms, Bagan is absolutely extraordinary—two thousand pagodas and temples rise majestically above emerald fields. At sunset, the views from atop the temples are absolutely entrancing. We’ll explore the best of them, then take a private boat up the Irrawaddy River to visit a remote village not frequented by other tour groups, which offers us a glimpse of rural Burmese life.

Days 6-7

After “making merit” at the Maha Muni Pagoda, with its huge Buddha image covered with countless layers of gold leaf, we travel by horse-cart to the ruins of Ava, the ancient capital of Burma, and capture beautiful sunset photos at U Bein Bridge.

Days 8-14
Hilltribe Country / Inle Lake

In Shan country, we walk village-to-village, often meeting hilltribe people on the trails as they go to their fields. At vast Inle Lake, famous for its leg-rowers, we explore lakeside communities by longboat, visit a hilltribe market, walk to caves filled with ancient Buddha images, and learn about Burma’s deep spiritual beliefs from the abbot of a Buddhist monastery. Depart on Day 14 via Yangon.

For a more complete description, Download Full Detailed Itinerary

Optional Extensions

If you would like to continue your adventure, we offer the following extensions:

What the Trip is Like

This trip is Level 2, or Easy to Moderate, according to our trip grading system. Although not physically demanding, the trip will yield greater rewards if you are in good physical condition and able to stay on your feet for 6-7 hours per day. There is much to see each day, and a fair amount of walking is necessary to take it all in.  Day 9 has a hike of 2 or more hours as we visit hilltribe people in their villages. The hike is optional but very rewarding.

All the hotels we use are privately owned and operated (not government-run). Our hotels in Yangon, Bagan, Mandalay, and Inle Lake will be good to very good. We will have porters to carry our luggage in most places. However there may be times when we need to carry our own luggage, so luggage with rollers work best.

Our two nights in Kyaing Tong are one of the highlights of the trip—the hill people we see are some of the most fascinating anywhere in the world. That said, Kyaing Tong is not on the main tourist route and facilities for tourists are marginal. Our Kyaing Tong hotel is adequate but basic (hot water, electricity, private toilets, air conditioning, etc.). Electricity at the hotel is variable and may be turned off at times (if it is, it's usually from about 10:00 pm to 6:00 am), and there is no street lighting, so you will need a flashlight with extra batteries for Kyaing Tong.

A Note on Travel in Burma
Travelers on our journeys to Burma have returned with glowing reports about the trip as well as the warmth and friendliness of the people and the natural beauty of the country.  However, please note that in Burma, you must be prepared for the possibility of changes or adjustments in the planned itinerary. For example, the government can suddenly close a hiking trail without prior notice. Weather conditions and other factors beyond our control can result in last-minute schedule changes on internal flights. A spirit of adventure, flexibility, and an ability to adapt to new situations are essential for travel in Burma.

Explanation of Trip Levels


Departures & Leaders

Dec 19, 2015-Jan 1, 2016  Mathew Smith
Feb 6-19, 2016  Mathew Smith
Nov 7-20, 2016  Mathew Smith
Jan 9-22, 2017  David Henley
Feb 1-14, 2017  Mathew Smith
Feb 15-28, 2017  Mathew Smith

Trip Cost

Prices valid through Spring 2016
$6195 (15-16 members)
$6495 (11-14 members)
$6795 (8-10 members)
Single supplement: $1580
Forced single supplement: $1580
Internal airfare: $750 (subject to change)
Holiday surcharge (December): $200
Optional balloon ride in Bagan: $350 (must be booked in advance, price subject to change)
more on pricing

Extension Costs
Bangkok Extension
   from: $645
Phuket Extension
   from: $795
Chiang Mai Extension
   from: $470
Temples of Angkor Extension
   from: $755

Trip Payment Schedule*

At time of reservation: $600
90 days prior to departure: Balance

*Please note that this differs from our regular catalog departures.

Cancellation and Transfer Fee Schedule

Up to 91 days prior to departure: No charge!
61-90 days prior to departure: 25% of trip cost
46-60 days prior to departure: 50% of trip cost
45 days or less: 100% of trip cost

Trip Cost Includes:

  • Expert leadership of a Wilderness Travel Trip Leader and local guides
  • Deluxe accommodations in top quality hotels: Savoy Hotel (Yangon); Thande (Bagan); Mandalay Hill Resort (Mandalay); Princess (Kyaing Tong); Inle Princess Resort (Inle Lake)
  • Welcome and farewell dinners
  • All meals included except 3 dinners
  • Airport transfers for all passengers
  • Land transportation in air-conditioned buses
  • Entrance fees and service charges
  • Bottled water supplied everywhere; coffee, tea, sodas, soft drinks, and water included with meals
  • Baggage handling; gratuities to hotel and restaurant staff

Trip Cost Does Not Include:

International airfare from US to Yangon (Rangoon) and from Yangon to US; transfers for independent arrival or departure; any meals not specified after each itinerary day in the Full Trip Brochure; international airport departure taxes; optional "Balloons over Bagan" flight; hotels en route and any hotel nights that may be necessitated by airline schedule changes or other factors; optional tipping or gratuities to trip leader, and local Burmese guide and drivers; medical immunizations, travel insurance, passport and visa fees; items of a personal nature (beverages other than bottled water, tea, coffee, and sodas with meals), laundry, telephone, internet, etc.)

Arrival & Departure Information

You are responsible for your own transportation to the arrival and from the departure cities listed below. For more detailed information, including transfers, please download the Detailed Itinerary.

Please do not purchase your tickets until you are confirmed on the trip. Once your tickets have been purchased, please send us a copy of your airline schedule.

Fall 2015-Spring 2016 Departures

Yangon, Burma
Date: Day 1

Suggested Arrival Airport:
Yangon, Burma (airport code: RGN)
Suggested arrival time: anytime before 3:00 pm
Yangon, Burma
Date: Day 14

Suggested Airport for Departure:
Yangon, Burma (airport code: RGN)
Suggested departure time: morning

Savoy Hotel

Savoy Hotel

Days 1 to 2 (2 nights),
Day 13 (1 night), Yangon, Burma

The Savoy Hotel is a beautifully restored colonial building that’s now a fine boutique hotel. Its 30 guest rooms express the charm of bygone ...
Click here for full description and more photos

Thande Hotel

Thande Hotel

Days 3 to 5 (3 nights), Bagan, Burma

With a riverside location on the Irrawaddy, the Thande has a tranquil setting among tropical trees and manicured lawns. The main building, built in ...
Click here for full description and more photos

Mandalay Hill Resort Hotel

Mandalay Hill Resort Hotel

Days 6 to 7 (2 nights), Mandalay, Burma

Set at the base of Mandalay Hill, this hotel has great views of Mandalay and the Irrawaddy River, comfortable rooms, a lovely pool and garden, three ...
Click here for full description and more photos

Princess Hotel

Princess Hotel

Days 8 to 9 (2 nights), Kyaing Tong, Burma

The town of Kyaing Tong is off the beaten path and there is a limited choice of accommodations. We stay at the Princess Hotel, which, while very ...
Click here for full description and more photos

Inle Princess Resort

Inle Princess Resort

Days 10 to 12 (3 nights), Inle Lake, Burma

Arriving at the Inle Princess Resort by boat is the perfect introduction to this secluded, atmospheric retreat. Its setting is exquisite—right ...
Click here for full description and more photos

Extension Accommodations

If you would like to view the accommodations offered with our extensions options:

Note: Listed above are our signature accommodations for this trip. Although it is highly unlikely, we may make substitutions when necessary.

Our Trip Leaders

Here are the Trip Leaders scheduled for this journey (please note that leader assignments are subject to change).

Andrew Forbes

Andrew Forbes, PhD, originally from Great Britain, taught Asian history at the University of Aberdeen in Scotland until 1990, when he moved to Southeast Asia to make writing a full-time career. He lives in Chiang Mai in Northern Thailand with his wife and son, and writes travel books and political ...
Click here for a full bio and list of all upcoming trips

David Henley

Departure Dates: January 9-22, 2017

David Henley was born and raised in England, where he studied as a commercial photographer before embarking on an extended adventure throughout Asia. He eventually settled in Chiang Mai, where he has been living for over 25 years. In addition to trip leading and traveling throughout Southeast ...
Click here for a full bio and list of all upcoming trips

Mathew Smith

Departure Dates: December 19, 2015-January 1, 2016, February 6-19, 2016, November 7-20, 2016, February 1-14, 2017, February 15-28, 2017

Mathew Smith, a former language teacher from the UK, went to Thailand to teach in 1987 and fell in love with Southeast Asia. Fluent in Thai, Mathew is revered by trip members for his extraordinary knowledge of Southeast Asia’s politics, history, and culture, and also for his easygoing style ...
Click here for a full bio and list of all upcoming trips

Optional Extensions

If you would like to continue your adventure, we offer the following extensions:


angkor wat cambodia temples

Temples of Angkor Extension

Exploring the Glories of a Bygone Khmer Civilization

Cultural Adventures
4 days  -  Level 2


wat arun bangkok thailand

Bangkok Extension

Discover the Beautiful Cultural Monuments of Bangkok

Cultural Adventures
3 days  -  Level 1

Chiang Mai Extension

Explore the Wonders of Northern Thailand

Cultural Adventures, Walking, Wildlife & Natural History
3 days  -  Level 2

Phuket Extension

Explore a Jewel Set in the Andaman Sea

Cultural Adventures, Sea Kayaking
4 days  -  Level 2

Client Comments

Loved the trip! Myanmar is a magical place, particularly the ‘off the beaten track’ aspects of the trip. Sara Z., Alexandria, VA A trip for the memory books. Myanmar is a must-see-now! Shirley R., San Rafael, CA A wonderful and amazing trip with perfect itinerary, guides, etc. I cannot rave enought about it. Deena S., Jupiter, FL The superior quality of each and every part of this trip cannot be too highly praised! The marvelous stream of information kept us perfectly informed about each and every aspect of our voyage, what to expect and when and where. I found the pace just perfect. Susan R., Coronado, CA The Burma adventure is a wonderful trip—a major cultural experience. From temples, to hikes, to visits to hill tribes, to boats on the Irrawaddy and Inle Lake, to local markets—just all amazing and fascinating. From start to finish, it was extremely well organized and the itinerary so varied. Each aspect of the trip was well thought out and provided us with an outstanding experience—we were so well taken care of. Gail S., Fairfax, CA We've been raving about this trip to everyone since we got home! Onnolee T., Portola Valley, CA A wonderful trip with great guides, itineraries, hotels, and transportation. It was one of my favorites of my 10 Wilderness trips. Julia D., San Carlos, CA
As usual, Wilderness provides outstanding guides, great places to stay, and a very complete itinerary. I feel like I truly saw and experienced Myanmar. Thank you! Vivian L., Alameda, CA The trip was busy, fun, and interesting. Max was a real positive in terms of making it fun. Barbara M., Weston, MA It was just a really delightful trip. We saw so many different things that it made my mind boggle. Nina Z., Newdigate, England Our second trip and not our last. We'd been waiting for years to visit Myanmar and would not have done it any other way. Paul G., Seattle, WA This trip kept us busy the entire time! There were so many wonderful things to see and do. Jane F., Naples, FL I wish I could go back to see more! Inle Lake was fantastic. Dianne L., Fairfax Station, VA I really enjoyed this trip and would recommend it highly to other people. Jamey H., ­Newton Center, MA We managed to pack in an enormous amount in the time we spent in Myanmar. It is one of the most interesting countries I have visited and the WT arrangements certainly allowed us to make the most of the opportunity. Philip M., N Wales