Expat Holidays Thailand

Myanmar Luxury Tour

  • ROAD TO MANDALAY CRUISE 001
  • ROAD TO MANDALAY CRUISE 002
  • YANGON-001
  • BALLOON OVER BAGAN 001
  • BAGAN-001
  • INLE-001

This Myanmar Luxury tour takes you to all the main destinations like Mandalay, Bagan, Inle Lake and Yangon.  It includes the most luxurious accommodations and the highlight – a 3 day 2 night river journey on board the luxurious Belmond Road to Mandalay cruise.

As with all of our tours, this itinerary can be tailored to suit your requirements – one more or less day here and there, more free time, different sightseeing options, different accommodations, etc.

Route: Mandalay – Bagan – Inle Lake – Yangon
Holiday highlights
  • 3 day cruise journey from Mandalay – Bagan
  • Exploring ancient temples in Bagan
  • Private boat tour around Inle Lake
  • Yangon highlights tour
  • Luxury hotels in all destinations
Brief itinerary

Day 1: Arrive in Mandalay

Day 2: Start cruising Mandalay – Ava

Day 3: Continue cruising to Bagan and Bagan exploration

Day 4: Bagan

Day 5: Bagan – Inle Lake

Day 6: Inle Lake boat trip

Day 7: Inle Lake

Day 8: Inle – Yangon

Day 9: Yangon

Day 10: Departure

Recommended for

Couples, honeymooners and individual travelers

DAY 1 / MANDALAY ARRIVAL

Welcome to Mandalay! Upon arrival meet your local guide and transfer to your hotel.

Depending on your arrival time you have the option of having a free day at leisure or sightseeing can be arranged.

Pay a visit to the Mahamuni Pagoda. This pagoda houses one of the country’s most honored Buddha images, completely covered in gold leaves that are every day applied to the statue by male devotees.

Visit Kuthodaw Pagoda, frequently dubbed as “The World’s Biggest Book” for its collection of 729 marble slabs inscribed with Buddhist teachings.

It’s off to the Shwenandaw Monastery, the Golden Monastery which is the only enduring structure from the Royal Palace of the 19th century. This impressive structure is celebrated for its remarkable woodcarvings.

Once the sun starts to set, you’ll want to stroll along the legendary U Bein Bridge, which was built in 1782 when Amarapura was the Royal center of attention. It spans 1.2 km across the shallow Taungthaman Lake and is said to be the longest teakwood bridge worldwide. Enjoy this very special atmosphere as the late afternoon sun casts long shadows and illuminates the local people heading home.

In the evening enjoy a welcome dinner at Kinsana Garden Restaurant with culture show.

Meals this day: dinner

DAY 2 / START CRUISING – BURMESE VILLAGE & AVA

Embarkation on Road to Mandalay (latest 07.00). Breakfast is served from 06.00 to 10.00.

At 07.30 Belmond Road to Mandalay will set sail for the ancient capita; of Ava, passing under the Yananabon and Sagaing (Ava) bridges. From 09.00 to 15.00 there will be a photography exhibition in the Observation Lounge, displaying the work of Aung Myoe, one of Myanmar’s most creative young photographers. We hope to have Sri Daramani, our Resident Astrologer, on board with us today whose family have been Astrologers for many generations. Astrology is a serious business in Myanmar and Sri Daramani is a consummate professional.

Around 08.15 the ship will moor mid-river and our transfer boat will take you to the shore near the site of the Sin Kyone Fort, one of three forts built in the late century to defend Upper Burma from the British. From here you have the opportunity to go on an excrusion to the remains of Aya (or ‘Inwa’) capital. The return transfer to the ship will be at around 10.30, and the ship will then continue downstream towards Bagan. A buffet lunch will be served both in the Restaurant and on the Observation Deck (weather permitting).

During the afternoon our Housekeeping staff will show you how to tie and wear a ‘longyi’, the Burmese sarong worn by both men and women. They will also prepare ‘thanaka’ for you. This is traditional facial skin treatment worn both as a sun protector and, for the women, as a decorative make-up.

An Afternoon Tea will be available in the Piano Bar and at 16.20 there will be a lecture in the Observation Lounge. The theme and speaker will be displayed on the notice board beside the restaurant. Before dinner everyone is invited to our Cocktail Party on the Observation Deck, weather permitting, to enjoy a cocktail.

Afterwards, please do return to the Observation Deck to enjoy some star-gazing with a complimentary glass Myanmar brandy, some carefully selected music and, again weather permitting, an unmissable and unforgettable “Surprise on the River”.

Lunch and dinner on board. Overnight on board.

Meals this day: breakfast, lunch, dinner

DAY 3 / BAGAN

Enjoy a relaxing breakfast (served 07.00 to 10.00) and from about 08.30 you can enjoy the views from the Observation Deck as we sail into the Bagan area. Early-morning fishermen are often to be seen casting their nets while local boats carry passengers from one bank to the other. The gilded ‘hti’ or crown of the Shwezigon Pagoda stands out as we circle around to point the ship into the current and drop the anchors.

Around 09.30 (this will depend on sailing conditions) you will disembark for your morning’s introduction to Bagan, which will bring you to two famous pagodas and to Nyaung-U local market. You will also visit one of the famous lacquer ware workshops where the fascinating production techniques of this ancient craft will be explained.

Returning to the ship for lunch which will be served in the Restaurant. Our afternoon exploration will show you the Ananda and Gubyaukgyi temples, visit a local village for a glimpse of a life -style unchanged for centuries and the tour will end at one of the ‘sunset’ pagodas. It is only permitted to dim up certain pagodas for the spectacular views of the sun setting over the temple-strewn plain and your guide will decide which will be the most suitable on the day.

After dinner tonight there will be a classical Puppet Show in the Observation Lounge. Historically puppet show were a Royal entertainment and usually told stories from the early life of Buddha but were also used as a way of delivering messages to the King as news was safer being delivered from the mouth of a puppet than from eve the most favored courtier.

Lunch and dinner on board. Overnight on board.

Meals this day: breakfast, lunch, dinner

DAY 4 / BAGAN

An early-bird breakfast is served in the Restaurant before you disembark from Belmond Road to Mandalay. Our guide and driver will pick you up at the Jetty and your day will start with a visit for Bagan excursion. Travel over dusty lanes and tree shaded roads past temples and monasteries to a small village. At one of the monasteries you will participate in a special traditional Buddhist ceremony. Around 10.30 you will donate offerings of food to the monks. Afterwards, you will receive a special blessing from the monks to ensure good luck and happiness.

This afternoon we have an exclusive meeting with a local artist in his family home. Learn the technique behind Bagan’s famous sand paintings, a traditional form of art that has been practiced for generations.

Before the sunset you will Jump on a horse cart and take a detour away from main tourist routes. It’s time to search for a little quiet heaven among the Bagan’s ruins. During the ride on this country road, the only interfering traffic you will find maybe herds of cows or goats. You will reach a secluded temple complex in the middle of shrub-land. Sit, relax, and feel the environment that surrounds you. Enjoy a selection of local sweets and seasonal fruits served in traditional lacquer wares while comfortably lazing to feel the warm and captivating vibes spread by the Bagan’s vestiges.

Meals this day: breakfast

DAY 5 / BAGAN – HEHO – INLE LAKE

After enjoying breakfast, transfer to Nyaung U airport with guide for flight to Heho. From Heho you will experience a lovely scenic one-hour drive (32km – 1 hour) which leads to Nyaung Shwe, gateway village to Inle Lake. Along the way, you will have an opportunity to visit rural workshops that specialize in traditional Shan paper and unique handcrafted umbrellas. Also, be sure to stop in at the teak monastery of Shweyanpyay to witness the intricate wood carving artwork and craftsmanship of the monks there.

Upon reaching the edge of the lake, you will board a private motorboat and begin heading out onto Inle Lake, one of Myanmar’s most spectacular and breath-taking sights. Its calm waters are dotted with floating vegetation and fishing canoes, to which scenic hills provide the perfect backdrop. Along the way you will pass several villages that are built on stilts over the lake, which are inhabited by the local Intha people. Observe the daily activities of the local leg-rowing fishermen and see their ‘floating gardens’, which are built up from strips of water hyacinth, earth and anchored to the bottom of the lake with bamboo poles. You will also visit Nga Hpe Chaung Monastery, which houses loads of early Shan Buddha Images. In the past this temple was known for its ‘jumping cats’ but these days there are only a few felines roaming around and none are jumping any more. Yet the Buddha images are still worth the visit. Proceed to the Phaung Daw Oo Pagoda, the lake’s main haven, which contains five sacred images of Buddha decorated in gold leaf. There are also many traditional crafts originating on Inle Lake and, should you wish, we can stop for a visit to one making incredible woven items from lotus silk, boat builders (depending on the time of year), a cigar making workshop, blacksmiths or even silver smiths. The tour will come to a close with a return trip by boat back to your hotel.

Meals this day: breakfast

DAY 6 / INLE LAKE – EXCURSION TO INDEIN VILLAGE

After breakfast you’ll pay a visit to the lake’s morning market (the market is open every day apart from dark moon and full moon calendar days). The market’s location rotates between the lake’s villages in a 5 day schedule and is also visited daily by the lake’s inhabitants as well as the surrounding natives who also come to sell and trade their wares. A 1-hour boat ride down a small canal will take you to the Pa-Oh village of Indein, positioned on the western shores of Inle Lake. Take a leisurely stroll around the village before ascending to the top of a hill. Once you’ve arrived at the summit, you will be greeted buy an iconic Buddha image which sits enshrined among hundreds of stupa ruins and overgrown shrubbery. Here, from the peak, you will also be rewarded with mesmerizing views of the placid surroundings. The Indein Pagoda complex is undoubtedly one of the most amazing sites around the shore of the lake and it consists of hundreds of small stupas which are overrun by moss and greenery.

Hungry? You shouldn’t miss the opportunity to experience culinary delights on Inle Lake: a typical Shan lunch on a rice boat in the midst of the beautiful Inle Lake scenery. You will truly enjoy the fantastic food that is served on a rice boat which was renovated into a fully equipped restaurant. Relax and enjoy a fantastic meal while watching the life at the lake from your private swimming boat.

On your boat ride back, should time allow, you’ll stop at the Inthar Heritage House to learn more about the history and culture of the lake’s indigenous people and enjoy a delicious coffee and cake. As an exciting day comes to close transfer back to your hotel for some well deserved relaxation.

Meals this day: breakfast, lunch

DAY 7 / INLE LAKE

Free day at leisure to enjoy the scenery and resort’s facilities.  Should you like to do more exploration around the lake, boat and guide are available to you.

Meals this day: breakfast

DAY 8 / INLE LAKE – HEHO – YANGON

After enjoying breakfast, transfer to Heho airport with guide for flight to Yangon. Upon arrival at Yangon domestic airport, meet your guide and transfer to hotel for check in.

You’ll be taken downtown and start your tour on Mahanbandola Road where the Immanuel Baptist Church, originally built in 1830, is located. Continue east passing a couple of alleyways crammed with food stalls and markets. Turn right onto Pansodan Street with its many stalls selling second-hand and photocopied books. You’ll pass the High Court Building, the grand Inland Water Transport offices and even grander Myanma Port Authority building until you’ll reach Strand Road. Your next stop will be outside of the majestic Strand Hotel and walk along Strand Road until you’ll see the Customs House and the Law Court, an impressive-looking colonnaded building. Turn north onto boisterous Bank Street and up onto Sule Pagoda Road, where you can consult one of the many fortune tellers who hang out under the trees. Be sure to make a photo stop at Sule Pagoda, downtown’s symbol whose construction dates back to over 2,000 years ago and have a glimpse of Independence Monument and Mahabandoola Garden. After a complete rotation seeing the twice rebuilt City Hall continue west down Mahanbandoola Road through the chaotic Indian and Chinese quarters.

Take a break from touring and indulge in High Tea at The Strand Hotel. Built in 1901, this British-era hotel became the centre of expat life during the 1900s and the High Tea has become a Yangon institution. Situated on the edge of the Yangon River, the classical hotel is a nice retreat from the heat and buzz of the city. Relax in the casual yet elegant café while enjoying a full service High Tea of either Burmese or Western treats.

Do not miss a visit to the bustling Bogyoke Market, better known under the name of “Scott Market” to stroll through the stalls filled with handicrafts and do your last minute shopping (the market is closed on Monday and during the holidays).

Meals this day: breakfast

 DAY 9 / YANGON

This morning you will glimpse into the daily activities of Myanmar’s biggest city. The day will start off after you’ve been picked up from your hotel and moved over to Yangon’s Central Station. Embark upon the local “Circular Train”, which runs from Yangon’s main railway station around various neighbourhoods in town as well as the borders surrounding the city itself. This train travels at a deliberately slow pace which provides you with time to really enjoy your surroundings and get a clear overview of the city (train ride is about 20 minutes, please take note that the trains are very simple, and used by many locals during the day). Disembark at Kyee Myin Daine station, one of the most beautiful station buildings remaining in Yangon. From here you’ll take a short 10 minute trishaw ride through a local neighbourhood. At this hour of the morning the neighbourhood is a vibrant hive of activities with children heading off to school, folks grabbing a bowl of noodles on their way to work and nuns and monks collecting alms door to door. This middle-class neighbourhood is a good glimpse of true life in Yangon. Continue on to the Shan Road market; you will certainly find some interesting merchandise here. Walk among the stalls filled with colourful fruits, green vegetables and fresh meat while chatting with friendly vendors.

Visit Kyaukhtatgyi Pagoda to see a 70 meter long reclining Buddha statue around the size of a blue whale. Afterwards, you continue uptown in order to make a quick stop by the Royal Lake located in Kandawgyi Park which is very popular with local residents, especially in the early morning and around sunset. Catch a view of Karaweik Hall, a reproduction of a royal barge and enjoy a spectacular view of the Golden Shwedagon Pagoda. No Myanmar expedition can be considered truly great if it’s lacking a visit to the legendary Shwedagon Pagoda. Ready for an amazing experience? The visual delights present there alone, are worth the trip. The best time to visit Shwedagon Pagoda is at sunset when its gilded stupa is bathed in the fading rays of the sun and takes on a magical glow.

No Myanmar expedition can be considered truly great if it’s lacking a visit this legendary site. Ascend the eastern stairway to find a row of shops at the base of the temple selling various religious items. Here you will find monks robes, alms bowls, offerings, incense and other unique Buddhist objects. As your browse the stalls your guide will explain the use and rituals of Myanmar’s Buddhist people. Then reach the platform which forms the base of the majestic temple. As the sun begins to dip low in the sky, witness the colors transform on the 100-meter chedi which is literally enclosed in over 40 tons of gold leaf. Shwedagon is largely considered to be the most important religious site for the Burmese; most visitors report that the trip is extremely memorable and still etched into their minds.

This evening you will be taken to Le Planteur, Yangon’s landmark restaurant, for an outstanding ür dinner. Located in a lush tropical garden close to Inya Lake, the gourmet restaurant, bistro and wine bar assure that Le Planteur satisfies the needs of every customer at the highest level. The owner, Boris Granges, saw an opportunity to put his years of international experience fine dining and create Myanmar’s first fine-dining experience. Established in 1998, he founded the high end restaurant Le Planteur and it continues to gain accolades for its delicious cuisine, served in a warm, welcoming environment.

Meals this day: breakfast, dinner

 DAY 10 / DEPARTURE

Free at leisure until transfer to airport for your departure flight.

Meals this day: breakfast

Best time to go

Myanmar is tropical and influenced by the monsoons and there are distinct 3 seasons. Travel is possible throughout the year however it is better to plan your trip to some places with the following in mind:

Best travel time is the winter (November – February) when it is dry and rather cool (20-30°C) and little humidity. It seldom rains in these months. In the mountain areas of the Shan and Chin states, it can get very cold at night and the northern state of Kachin often experiences snow during this period. Warm clothing is advised for those travelling to Myanmar during this period, particularly as some hotels and restaurants are not well insulated.

The hot season (March – May) temperatures are in the range 30-35°C. Some places become extremely hot. Bagan and Mandalay reach temperatures up to 45°C while the Shan & Chin states may still have comfortable temperature around 20°C to 30°C. However it is very pleasant in the mountains during this period. This is the best season for trekking in the mountains or a boat trip at the Gulf of Bengal.

Rainy season (May – October) has temperatures between 25-35 °C with high humidity. In the evenings temperature falls to 20 °C.  But in the north and central Burma the temperature falls to as low as 10 °C. The South West monsoon during this time brings heavy rainfalls, mostly on the coast. It is advisable to avoid coastal areas during these months. There is rain in upper Myanmar at this time but not nearly as much. The rain greens everything and nature lovers find this the best time to visit.

Myanmar_Weather

Myanmar visa information

All Myanmar visa must now be obtained online here or at your local embassy.

Extension options

Extend this trip with some relaxation at Ngpali Beach in South Myanmar.

Tailor – made

All of our suggested itineraries are based on holidays that have been very popular with our clients.  However we strongly believe that each holiday should be unique to the traveler.  Absolutely anything in our itineraries can be tailored to suit your requirements, travel style and budget.  Simply contact us and let us design your custom holiday!

Private

We never mix groups during holidays.  All the holidays are arranged for your group only so you can travel at your own pace.

Independent travel

The most consistent feedback from our clients is how amazing our guides are!  We strongly believe that having a guide can add some much value to your travel experience.  With that said, we totally understand that some travelers prefer to explore independently.  If this is your travel style – we can still help you!  We can arrange your holiday without guides, suggest activities that you will enjoy, advise the best way to get around, how much to pay for things, etc.  We simply help you plan a logical itinerary, book accommodation and necessary transfers along the way.

Planning process

We work together with you until you are 100% satisfied with your itinerary.

  • Initial contact by phone or email to ask you some questions to help us fully understand your travel style, requirements, budget etc.
  • We send you a detailed itinerary proposal with prices
  • You review, and if needed, reply with requested changes.
  • We send you updated proposal.
  • Continue this process until you are 100% happy with and accept the proposal.

Prices often vary due to travel period, best accommodation rates during that period, number of persons traveling, etc.  Please send us your holiday requirements and and approximate budget (if you have one in mind) and we will get back to you with a detailed quotation right away.

Free planning. No booking fees.

Our philosophy is simple: our tours will not cost clients more than if they arrange the same tour themselves.  We do not charge any ‘fees’ whatsoever.  How do we make profit?  Our profit comes from suppliers we use – hotels, transport, tour companies, etc.  Rates we get as a travel agency are much lower than direct booking (or booking website) rates.  This allows us to offer tours to our clients at lower prices, or at worst the same, as they would be if booking all the services directly.  To simplify – you save money, time and receive our expert advice for free.

Please provide as much information as possible.  We respond to most requests right away during work hours and always within 12 hours.

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Hotel options for this holiday

These are popular hotels that we have used for this holiday.  If you have other hotels in mind, or would like more options let us know.

Location Luxury hotels Room typle
Mandalay Rupar Mandalar Corner Premier Suite
Cruise Road to Mandalay Deluxe Cabin
Bagan Aureum Palace Orchid Villa
Inle Lake Villa Inle Lake Front Villa
Yangon Governor’s Residence Deluxe

Holiday includes

  • Accommodation with daily breakfast
  • Meals as mentioned in the program
  • Road to Mandalay cruise Mandalay - Bagan 3 days 2 nights
  • Activities and sightseeing as mentioned in the program
  • Local English speaking station guides (different guides in each destination – one guide per town)
  • Ground transportation with air conditioned vehicle with drivers on touring days
  • Entrance fees for visits mentioned in the program (except camera fees)

Holiday excludes

  • International and domestic airfare (quoted separately)
  • Any meals not mentioned in the program
  • Personal expenses

Map

About our holidays

Tailor – made

All of our suggested itineraries are based on holidays that have been very popular with our clients.  However we strongly believe that each holiday should be unique to the traveler.  Absolutely anything in our itineraries can be tailored to suit your requirements, travel style and budget.  Simply contact us and let us design your custom holiday!

Private

We never mix groups during holidays.  All the holidays are arranged for your group only so you can travel at your own pace.

Prices

Prices can vary often due to things such as travel period, best accommodation rates during that period, number of persons traveling, etc.  Please send us your holiday requirements and and approximate budget (if you have one in mind) and we will get back to you with a detailed quotation right away.

Request a quote or more information

Your Name (required)

Your Email (required)

Your Telephone (required)

Subject

Your Message

Testimonials

  • My husband and I have been living in SE Asia for 3.5 years and have used Lenny’s services on many occasions! From a night in Bangkok, to Laos, Cambodia and Vietnam, to arranging everything for a trip for my in-laws, he’s been able to manage it all quickly and efficiently! He is very thorough and provides clear details that ensure you have a magnificent experience. I tell everyone I know about Lenny and his services! I highly recommend getting in touch with him to plan your next SE Asia trip!

    Laurie Ranz, expats based in Bangladesh
  • Thank you Lenny and team for making our trip to Thailand so memorable! All the transfers and tours were exactly as described and we felt at ease the whole trip knowing your team were working away making sure we enjoyed it. Thanks for all the recommendations and especially the elephant tour, definite highlight! We’ve already passed your details to others because we know our friends and family will be in good hands when booking their trips through you. Thank you again for taking such good care of us!

    Reena Mandora from UK – Bangkok and North Thailand tour
  • Lenny, I just wanted to pass along some words of thanks. You have done a fantastic job assisting us with our retirement vacation that you tailored to our needs. 6 weeks in Asia was was ambitious but was made stress free through your help. Our hotels were gems, in great locations, with a staff that were more than helpful. Transfers to and from the airport were perfect. It was nice to see a smiling face there for us in each new location that we visited. I would highly recommend this service to anyone looking to book. Your communication to us was amazing (I couldn’t imagine how it could be any better). We always knew what was happening in the next few days. It was nice to have the safety net of being able to get in touch with the owner of Expat Holidays knowing that we would have a response to our inquiry in a short period of time. Our guides were knowledgeable and were easily able to communicate with us. Special thanks to our guide, Mr. Sophy, from Siem Reap. He went above and beyond. Finally, even though we made a few last minute changes, they always went off without a hitch from your end.
    We will be recommending Expat to our friends and family (our daughter is already talking about coming back to this part of the world) when we get home.

    Rob Kruse from Canada – Thailand & Indochina tour in 2016
  • We were a group of 8 touring from South Africa. We contacted Lenny and from day 1 everything he advised us on turned out perfectly. He accommodated our every need and structured our trip according to what we wanted. Lenny even made the effort to meet us at our hotel in Bangkok, for a meet and greet. It is always good meeting the person behind all the arrangements. Everything was well arranged and on time, from our day trips to our transfers to either hotel, airport or train station. The accommodation was also top class. I would highly recommend Lenny and Expat Holidays Thailand, to anyone considering traveling to this beautiful country and its very friendly people. We certainly will be back in the future and will make use of Lenny’s services again. Thank you Lenny, for a great experience.

    Ingrid Bailey from South Africa – Thailand family tour in 2016
  • This company is absolutely amazing. Our tour was organized perfectly from the first minute to the last. The itinerary, the varieties of sightseeing, the service deserve the top prize. Our guide Peter and our driver were very attentive. Peter is knowledgeable, with a sense of humor, and very cheerful. Our accommodation was excellent. I am dreaming now about going back to Thailand and explore more with Expat Holidays Thailand. They are the best!

    Elena Yzgur from USA – 2 day tour of Bangkok and Ayutthaya from a cruise ship