Ideal for travelers who crave authentic local life experiences, this 7-day journey explores the highlights of Mandalay, Inle Lake and Bagan, complete with visits to remote rural areas, ethnic villages and local hotspots. Enjoy a local night out in Mandalay, trek through remote ethnic villages near Inle Lake and cycle around the temples of Bagan. This is a soft adventure program which involves some light trekking and easy cycling, suitable for clients with average fitness.   

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Mandalay – Inle Lake – Bagan
7 days, 6 nights

Day 1


Arrive in Mandalay, the former capital of the Burmese kingdom and cultural heart of modern-day Myanmar.  After checking in to your hotel, meet your local guide to get acquainted with the city and have your first taste of Myanmar on a ‘local night out’. Travel in local style, aboard an open-air truck to a typical venue where you can listen to local music while sipping rum sours and Myanmar beer, a popular Burmese drink. Pass by Mandalay Palace, the last residence of the Burmese monarchy, and stop for photos or try the exercise machines around the moat. Continue to a Buddhist pagoda rarely visited by tourists but very popular among local worshippers. Then enjoy a local barbecue dinner at a popular gathering spot.

Overnight at Mandalay Hill Resort, Mandalay

Meals: Dinner


Day 2

At a busy morning market, witness scenes of daily life and sip the local brew at a Burmese tea shop.  Then transfer to the historic town of Inwa. Hop on a bicycle and pedal through quiet laneways to see small, family-run businesses and historic monuments. Ride a local ferry then head to a forgotten fort where a picnic lunch awaits on the banks of the Irrawaddy River. After lunch, head to Sagaing, the Buddhist center of Myanmar. Climb Sagaing hill for spectacular views of the Irrawaddy and hills dotted with religious buildings. You may encounter monks in saffron robes and visit a nunnery, if time permits. In the evening, witness magnificent sunset vistas at U Bein Bridge, the world’s longest teak bridge in Amarapura.

Overnight at Mandalay Hill Resort, Mandalay

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 3


Check out of your Mandalay hotel and transfer to the airport for a flight into the Shan Hills, one of the most scenic regions of Myanmar. After landing at Heho airport, meet your local Shan guide and embark on a leisurely drive to a town near Inle Lake. From there, begin a scenic trek to explore a remote area of the lake. Hike for 3-4 hours through small plantations where farmers grow cabbages, cauliflower and other produce. Along the way, catch a glimpse of rural life as you pass traditional villages inhabited by the Shan, Pa-Oh and Palaung ethnic groups. Stop for a quiet picnic lunch in a scenic spot or a village monastery. In the late afternoon, you arrive at the edge of Inle Lake and check in to your hotel.

Overnight at Sanctum Inle, Inle Lake

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner


Day 4

Start early with an optional hot air balloon flight over the lake to witness spectacular views plus an exclusive chance to observe the crew’s pre-departure preparations up close. Champagne is served with breakfast upon landing. Inle Lake is undoubtedly one of Myanmar’s greatest natural treasures. Framed by floating gardens and stilted villages, the expansive freshwater lake delivers plenty of picturesque moments and a supreme sense of calm and tranquility. Explore the floating villages on a private motorboat, stopping at a workshop to see how locals use lotus flower fibers to create hand-woven silks. Then visit a local home for a chat with the hosts over tea. Next, try crossing the canals on a stand-up paddle board.

Please note: Hot air balloon flight with premium service requires a surcharge of USD 430 per person on shared basis with up to 8 passengers per flight. Additional fees applies for Christmas/New Year period.

Overnight at Sanctum Inle, Inle Lake

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 5


Enjoy the morning at leisure to absorb the fresh air and beautiful scenery of the Shan State. Take time to explore the area at your own pace. You may wish to indulge in a spa treatment or, with your guide and boat available at your disposal, return to the lake for more amazing photo opportunities or explore a nearby village. After lunch at the hotel, check out and transfer to Heho airport in time for your domestic flight to Bagan. An ancient city in central Myanmar, Bagan is famous for its magnificent archeological area which contains over 2,000 Buddhist monuments and historical landmarks. Upon arrival at the airport, transfer to your hotel for check in. Then enjoy a relaxing evening including dinner at the hotel.

Overnight at Bagan Lodge, Bagan

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner


Day 6

Spend the day exploring the best of Bagan by bike, accompanied by your local guide who is a native of the city.  Cycling through small lanes that criss-cross the temple plains, you are led to some of the most important archeological sites as well as many hidden gems, away from the path of the tour-bus crowd. Along the way, you pass small villages where farmers continue to live in much the same way as their ancestors, growing chili and garlic in the dry, arid soil. Stop to see a local family making lacquer ware at their home and observe one of the larger lacquer ware workshops if you wish. In the late afternoon, head to the banks of the Irrawaddy River for a peaceful and private sunset cruise with cocktails and snacks.

Overnight at Bagan Lodge, Bagan

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 7


Begin the day with a drive to Na Jo Ai, a small village on the outskirts of Bagan. Make your way through the town, passing sandy streets to visit the main monastery and take part in a traditional ceremony. It is common practice in Myanmar for locals to donate a meal to the resident monks as a way of making merit. After performing the ritual, you receive a blessing from the head monk for a safe onward journey. Using your guide as an interpreter, you may chat with the monk to learn more about Buddhism and the monastic life. Then return to your hotel to freshen up and check out.  Savor the final moments of your Myanmar experience on a transfer of 3 - 3.5 hours to Mandalay International Airport for your final departure.

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch

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