Go off-radar in magical Myanmar
Go off-radar in magical Myanmar Glide past the floating villages of Inle Lake on a long-tail boat, help bathe rescued elephants and explore the magical temples of Bagan by bike
Go off-radar in magical Myanmar
About your trip
Until recently, Myanmar (Burma) was a closed book when it came to tourists, now, we are so glad that us wanderlusters are now able to visit.
Our 12-day Myanmar adventure promises a treasure trove of hidden delights. We’ll trek through the remote hill country to a tribal village near Loikaw, stopping for a jungle picnic and learning crafts with long-necked Kayan women. We’ll wow you with a private river cruise along the Ayeyarwady at sunset, and a picturesque bike ride around the gilded pagodas of Bagan.
We’ll jump aboard a traditional long-boat to see the unique leg-rowing fishermen of Inle Lake and bathe rescued elephants at a unique jungle sanctuary. We’ll trek through the mesmerising countryside of Kalaw, eat our way down Yangon’s legendary BBQ Street and stand in awe by serene lotus ponds and golden temples.
Hold onto your hats: an adventure in this beguiling land of wonders is like nothing else on earth.
- Accommodation in twin rooms
- Local transport
- Most meals included
- Max 14 travellers per group
- Private airport transfers
Remember, flights aren't included and prices are based on sharing a twin room. If you'd like to upgrade to a single room, you can add this during the booking process or by contacting our Customer Experience team.
Day 01 GOLDEN ARRIVAL IN YANGON
Upon arrival in this majestic country, you’ll be met at the airport and whisked off by private transfer to Yangon. Please arrive at the airport by 3pm at the latest, though we recommend arriving earlier so you can settle into your elegant lakeside hotel, complete with a spa and a swimming pool framed by coconut trees. Later, you’ll meet your guide and fellow Flashpackers, in time for a spiritual sunset at Shwedagon Pagoda. As dusk paints the sky in lavender streaks, wander the legendary pagoda on foot, admiring the sacred site built some 2,500 years ago. Your guide will let you in on Shwedagon’s secrets, as you explore the temple’s beating heart: an eight-sided central stupa towering 99 metres tall and gilded with gold leaf. Watch the golden landmark turn to pink as twilight sets in – this is Myanmar, Flashpackers, and you’re going to love it!
Day 02 A BBQ, BURMA-STYLE
Banish your jet lag with a leisurely lie-in and decadent breakfast. Later, we’ll set off for a walking tour of downtown’s fascinating architecture, where modern high-rise blocks jostle with ancient pagoda towers. After returning to the hotel in the afternoon, it’s designated pool-and-chill time. If you’re raring to go, you could go for a wander round nearby Kandawgyi Lake – a gorgeous, tranquil spot home to picnic-friendly gardens and the setting for Karaweik, a photogenic palace built in the shape of a Burmese royal barge. As day turns to night, we’ll enjoy the colourful chaos of Yangon’s bustling street markets and search for traditional street food in China Town’s 19th Street, known locally as “BBQ Street”. The street food here is all about Myanmar Chinese barbeque, and you can browse round stalls selling anything from pork and meatballs to tofu, ribs and squid, often marinated with fiery chilli sauce and served alongside a welcoming draft of beer. Grab your skewers and prepare for a grill-fest like no other!
Day 03 SMOOTH SAILING ON THE AYEYARWADY RIVER
Fuel up on a hearty breakfast before your 90-minute flight north to the ancient city of Bagan. Photographers, you’re welcome – this snap-happy paradise is bursting with ancient ruins, temples and pagodas that stand strikingly against the green vegetation. These temples were built by the kings of Bagan back in the 11th to 13th Centuries, many surviving earthquakes and Mongol invasions to become the archaeological wonders that they are today. Check into boutique hotel and rest up by the two outdoor swimming pools here. There’s also a spa should you require a little extra R&R. Charge up your camera because this evening, you’re in for another blazing sunset as we cruise down the broad, snaking Ayeyarwady River on a mesmerising private boat trip. Drink in the hazy pace of riverbank life on the mirror-like waters, with the sun casting a golden hue over the horizon.
Day 04 THE BEAUTY OF BAGAN BY BIKE
This morning prepare to live like a local with a visit to the colourful stalls of Nyaung Oo Market, where you’ll join Bagan residents in bartering over fresh produce and handicrafts. From here we’ll hop onto bikes for a cycling trip around the glistening temples of Bagan, including the Shwezigon Pagoda with its golden stupa – it’s a spectacular sight to behold. Then, peddle your way around other fascinating temples, including the grand Ananda Pahto and wondrous Dhammayangyi Pahto. After today’s galavanting, you’ll probably want to rest your legs this afternoon so we’ll drop you off back at your hotel where you can stretch out by the pool and crack open a beer with your Flashpackers. If you still have gas in the tank, you could explore Bagan in your own time, too. Note: If you would like to see Bagan by hot air balloon as an optional extra, then add this to your booking at check out, it is always subject to availability. Please note that ballooning is only available from the 7th October – 10th April.
Day 05 TREKKING AND VILLAGE LIFE IN KALAW
After an early breakfast, we’re heading to Nyaung U airport for a 40-minute flight east to Heho, and the trekking haven of Kalaw. The epic plains of Shan Plateau make for a stunning ride as we head towards our hotel, offering a taste of the landscapes that lie ahead. Freshen up for a five-kilometre trek through rolling fields and hills, a feat totally worth it once you reach Pein Ne Bin village. Here, multiple families of the Palaung, one of the oldest ethnic groups in Myanmar, live in a single longhouse under one roof. Tuck into a home-cooked lunch and catch a rare glimpse into village life in this rural community. Once you’re suitably replenished, you can watch as the villagers hand-weave Palaung textiles and roll cheroot leaf cigars. Enjoy picturesque plateau views from the nearby Pagoda hilltop before we return to the hotel and relax as the mist descends over the mountains.
Day 06 MEET THE ELEPHANTS OF GREEN HILL VALLEY
Today we’re journeying into the Shan Hills for an hour’s guided trek to reach the trunked residents of the Green Hill Valley Elephant Camp. This family-run sanctuary began as a means of improving the welfare of retired timber logging elephants in the area. You’ll have a chance to walk alongside these gentle giants, learn about their care in the onsite clinic and throw on your swimwear for a splash in the river, as the herd enjoys their daily bath. Watching these magnificent creatures lumbering around playfully and throwing dirt with their trunks in the muddy shallows is a truly moving experience. After a traditional lunch back at the main camp in Magwe, we’ll drive towards Inle Lake. Freshen up after a long day in this unique waterside retreat, and catch a sunset dip in the pool.
Day 07 A DAY’S BOATING ON INLE LAKE
Rise and shine this morning, ready for a day floating along the silvery waters of Inle Lake in a Burmese long-tail boat. Glide along the lake to drink in a beguiling tapestry of local life, from leg-rowing fishermen with their floating farms to monasteries on stilts and the famed Phaungdaw Daw Oo Pagoda, which is home to five ancient gold leaf-embossed images of Buddha. We’ll stop at the floating village of Ywama and Inpawkhon, as well as Nga Phe Chuang, where old monastery artefacts are restored. After lunch in a lakeside restaurant, we’ll head to the remote hamlet of Samka, passing along an enchanting trail of bamboo forest, lotus flowers and ancient stupa ruins. The village itself is a real hidden gem, far from the eyes of the tourist hoards (so sshh, let’s keep this beautiful corner of the Shan State between us).
Day 08 CRUISING THE CREEK AND A SUNSET PAGODA
Fancy another lazy day on the water? You’re in luck! This time you’ll be reclining on a private boat to the small town of Phekhone. The cruise along the Bilu Creek between Sagar Lake and Phekhone Lake reveals yet another peaceful, healing landscape characterised by tall grasses, lush mangroves and mesmerising waters. We’ll stop for lunch at Phekhone, before hopping in a car for a drive to Loikaw, the sleepy capital of the Kayah state and one of the least visited areas of the country. This region is known for its incredible hill scenery and distinctive tribal cultures. Check into our hotel for a quick rest (we recommend a dip in the pool), before we head out to Taung Kwe Zedi, a towering pagoda. At this revered site, you’ll find golden stupas carved into the Mingalar Thiri mountain; the perfect spot for watching the sun set over the hilly panorama.
Day 09 JUNGLE PICNICS AND HILLSIDE TRIBES
This morning we’ll drive to Pemsong village for a moderate trek through lush, shady forest up to a panoramic viewpoint. After a couple of hours, we’ll reach Pan Pet, an ancient settlement perched on a mountain top, considered to be one of the first Kayan settlements in the Kayah state. Here, you’ll feast on a jungle picnic with a delectable spread of fresh regional produce, before hiking onwards on to Rang Ku village, where you’ll meet people from the Kayan community, a Tibeto-Burman ethnic minority famed for the distinctive brass rings that Kayan women wear around their necks. Spend some time in the company of these fun-loving, artistic folk, and watch on as they make traditional handicrafts. We’ll then head back via car to Loikaw, where you can take a twilight swim in the pool or wander the laid-back town for some tasty Burmese delicacies.
Day 10 THE BRIGHT LIGHTS OF YANGON
We’re nearing the end of our Myanmar escapade, so we’ve made sure to pull out all the stops for your final 48 hours in this extraordinary country. After breakfast, we’ll spend a few more hours exploring our remote countryside setting dotted with caves, waterfalls, tribal villages and scenic lakes. We’ll grab lunch at a local restaurant before catching an hour-long flight back to Yangon. We’ll give you some time to freshen up back at the hotel, and then whisk you off to dinner at a local restaurant in the city centre. It’s the perfect excuse to soak up a little more of this fascinating city. Mingle with the locals in one of Yangon’s lively Burmese teahouses (ideal for people-watching), pull up a stool at a pavement beer station along Sanchaung Street or head to the rooftop bars at The Penthouse or The Envoy to party until the early hours.
Day 11 BIKING AND BOATING IN YANGON
It’s your last full day with us and we like to go out with a bang, so we’ve planned plenty of action before you head home. This morning, you’ll cycle to the waterfront city of Thanlyin. Your first stop will be a lively food market, where you can sample regional products. You’ll then weave through streets lined with colonial architecture, before stopping to enjoy Burmese pancakes alongside the locals. Continue your journey to nearby shops, where you’ll find women weaving the traditional rattan products that Myanmar is famed for. Then, after lunch at a local restaurant, we’ll leave the bikes on the shore and set off on a private boat cruise past sleepy bamboo villages. Tonight is yours to spend however you like, be it sipping cocktails at the Strand Hotel or seeking out raucous karaoke bars in BBQ Street for a final hurrah with your Flash Pack crew.
Day 12 HOME SWEET HOME – OR BEACH SWEET BEACH?
Our escape to Myanmar draws to a close today, so it’s time to bid farewell to your fellow Flashpackers and organise your taxi to the airport. If the travelling bug has hit, you could check out our other trips in the region. Are the powdery white sands of the Philippines calling? Perhaps you’d prefer to get under the skin of Vietnam and Cambodia? Or maybe Malaysia has your name on? Not to mention Thailand and Laos. Wherever you head to next, ride on a high from your 12-day getaway in this undiscovered land. You’ve cycled around a maze of golden pagodas in Bagan, and trekked the remote green valleys of Kalaw. You’ve feasted on barbeque food in Yangon and been wowed by the sunset on Ayeyarwady River. You’ve glided across the serene beauty of Inle Lake, passing floating villages and gilded stupas. And you’ve caught a glimpse into the lives of Myanmar’s hill tribes, far from the tourist hordes. Oh, and who could forget bathing with rescued elephants? Let’s just say our bucket list is several stones lighter now…
Our Favourite Hotels
Browse a selection of our favourite hotels, for a flavour of where you may stay on this trip.
Bagan Lodge, Bagan
From the twinkling pools and spa, to the large, stylish rooms and a highly regarded restaurant, it’s hard to rival Bagan Lodge. It’s in New Town, a short walk from Dhammayangyi temple.
Pristine Lotus Resort, Inle Lake
Traditional wooden villas and a series of rooms designed to look like moored boats make for a bucolic sight – especially when you arrive via boat.
Chatrium Hotel, Yangon
This is the perfect Yangon bolthole, thanks to its super comfy beds, brilliant breakfast buffet and peerless views (including of Shwedagon Paya).
Fly into and out of Yangon International Airport (RGN).
Please try to arrive before 3pm on Day 1 and you’re free to leave anytime on Day 12.
Domestic flights in Burma are included in the itinerary as it’s often the quickest way to get around. However, Burmese infrastructure is not something to be admired so it’s best to expect delays and consider it a nice surprise if a flight leaves on time.
Please note that flight changes in Myanmar can sometimes force us to alter the itinerary, too, in which case we’ll do our best to inform you before your adventure departs.
Here at Flash Pack, we’re passionate about using travel as a means of improving the lives of local people, which is why we are still travelling to Myanmar during the Rohingya crisis. By continuing to do so, you (and we) are helping to support local communities, many of which depend on income from tourism. We do not travel to any areas of the country that are deemed dangerous. We currently pledge to send 5% of our profits from Myanmar trip bookings to the UNHCR, who are supporting Rohingya refugees in their time of need.
Please be aware that the itinerary, activities and hotels are subject to change. These changes can happen with little notice due to availability, poor weather, seasonal changes, or other circumstances beyond our control. From time to time we may also make changes to your itinerary to try out new ideas and keep things fresh.
As captured on Instagram
The latest from Flashpackers in Myanmar on #picsworthsharing
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