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Real Myanmar

Yangon, Bagan, Mandalay, Kalaw

Real Myanmar

Start: Yangon
End: Yangon

Beautiful pagodas, astounding giant Buddhas and countless historical sites

LocationYangon, Bagan, Mandalay, Kalaw
Duration13 days
Start / EndYangon / Yangon
Tour operatorIntrepid Travel

Yangon, Bagan, Mandalay, Kalaw

Real Myanmar

13 days·Intrepid Travel
Start: Yangon
End: Yangon


Not all that long ago, many parts of Myanmar were still off-limits to travellers. Lucky for you, that’s no longer the case, although outside the cities you'll find large parts of the country remain relatively new to tourism. Check out the busy streets of Yangon, the thousands of orange temples that rise over green plains in Bagan, take a cruise up the Ayeyarwady River in Mandalay, head into the...

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Day 1Yangon
Min Gala Ba! Welcome to Myanmar. Your adventure officially begins with a welcome meeting at 6 pm. You can arrive at any time during the day as there are no activities planned until this important meeting. Check with the hotel reception where and when it will take place, or check the reception notice boards. Spend your free time getting amongst it today – maybe take an Urban Adventure on the circle train or stroll around the Kandawgyi Lake.
Day 2Bagan
Depart the hotel in a private bus headed to Bagan (approximately 9 hours). There will be 2 drivers on board, and multiple rest breaks on the way. It's a good idea to pack some card games, a good book or load up some podcasts to your phone. This is also a great opportunity to get to know your fellow travellers. Arrive in Bagan in the evening and check into your hotel. Stretch your legs after a long travel day by tracking down Bagan's top laphet (tea leaf salad) or mohinga (rice noodle broth) at a nearby restaurant.
Day 3Bagan
Enjoy a full free day to explore the sites of Bagan. Stretch your legs, grab a bite to eat and go exploring. Try and close your wide-open jaw after seeing that super duper stupa-studded skyline (say that three times fast with a mouthful of pickled bitter melon!) The Nyaung U market, one of the best in the country, is a great place walk around. The archaeological museum is also a choice option. But there are 4500 brick and gilded temples calling your name, and the fun has only just Bagan.
Day 4Bagan
What you gonna do? Well it's up to you. If you like to get up early then check out the incredible balloon flight takes place every morning. If you're looking for ideas, floating up and (not quite) away is the perfect way to take in the atmosphere of this place. Or perhaps explore by bike with Urban Adventures. You can drop by big-name sights like Ananda Pahto, Dhammayangyi Pahto and Shwesandaw Paya, as well as some of the smaller ones. There will also be plenty of chances to jump off the bike here and there so you can climb stairs to lookout points where the really awesome views are found. You can also pay a visit to the village of Kyunkalay, where you can enjoy lunch with a local family and see how ActionAid Myanmar is using responsible tourism to improve local infrastructure and living conditions. Another great option is a sunset river cruise and picnic beside the Ayeyarwady River, the country's largest river. Your leader can help you book any of these activities locally.
Day 5Ayeyarwady River - Mandalay
Rise and shine! Bound out of bed before dawn so you can catch the ferry for your cruise up the Ayeyarwady River to Mandalay. Watch the wonderful world of local life stream by while you're chilling out on the boat. It's a good idea to bring some snacks today, although there will be a cafe and bar on the upper deck with simple meals available. You'll arrive in Mandalay late afternoon, then be transferred to your hotel.
Day 6Mandalay
Join your group leader for a walking tour around Mandalay this morning, then the day is yours. Maybe head further up the Ayeyarwady River to visit Mingun, a world-class archaeological site. The main temple here was never finished, supposedly because an astrologer thought the king would die if it was finished. Harsh. But it sure is impressive. You'll also find the world's largest uncracked bell, which is possibly even cooler than the temple. And a glistening white stupa to go with it. There are plenty of things to do with your free time here. You can visit the teak Monastery Shwe In Bin Kyaung or the bigger Shwenandaw Kyaung, or check out the city by local transport (van or truck ride). Maybe make a stop at some cottage industries that make gold leaf (the sacred Buddha image of Mahamuni Paya is covered in six inches of it – and it is known to be over 2000 years old). On the other hand, you can rest your legs and enjoy a puppetry or dance performance at the Mandalay Marionettes or Mintha Theatre.
Day 7Kalaw
Take a private bus to Kalaw (approximately 8 hours). On the way we stop in at the impressive U Bein Bridge. At 1.2km long it is the world’s longest teak bridge. Drive into the mountains of Shan state. Keep that camera handy, because the scenery is awesome and there will be stops for photos. Your social followers will be loving you for this, or maybe not loving you, just wishing they were here. Arrive in Kalaw late afternoon, with time to stretch your legs and get a feel for this beautiful spot, a former British hill station.
Day 8Kalaw
Head for the hills! Explore villages, farms and forests in the area outside of Kalaw. Feel that breeze? Welcome to the highlands, baby. This is a land of many communities, including the Palaung, Danu and Pa-O, as well as Indians and Nepalese who moved here during the British rule. This may explain why the chai is so good. Along your travels today you'll stop for lunch (which is included) at a local village.
Day 9Inle Lake
Consider yourself warned: the roads to Nyaungshwe are terrible. But it'll be worth it when you choose to take a boat trip on Inle Lake, where you’ll meet the famous leg-rowing Intha fishermen. Stock up on snacks before your bus trip to Inle Lake in the afternoon (approximately 3 hours). Haggle over some lacquerware at the Ywama floating market. Or you can check out one of the beautiful Buddhist pagodas around. Surrounded by the cool stilt houses, Inle Lake makes for fairytale kinda scene. Shimmering waters, floating gardens and intense sunsets.
Day 10Inle Lake
Freedom! Well, a free couple of days at least. Spend a free day exploring the lake and the surrounding villages. Your leader can help organise the transport: motorised longtail boat. The sights: cool waters, floating tomato plantations, floating everything! (Even floating markets, if it's the right day.) The people: local silversmiths, weavers, cigar makers... and those fisherman, rowing their boats with their legs, how do they do it? As them! You can grab a bike and peddle to some local villages towards the end of the day, where people will greet you with smiles and cute traditional handicrafts.
Day 11Inle Lake
Enjoy some time to chill today. You might like to visit the Mingala morning market, or maybe Nyuang Shwe's oldest Buddhist monastery, Yadana Man Aung Paya. There's also a traditional puppet show held every night in town, and a nearby winery that has ah-mazing views over the lake (your chance to sample a wee drop of the local varieties perhaps, and to be all distinguished and cultured and civilised).
Day 12Yangon
Tar tar, spectacular state of Shan. It's been real. Make your way to the airport in Heho for your flight back to the hustle and bustle of Yangon (approximately 1 hour and 10 minutes). When you touch down in town, head off to visit the serious treasure of the Shwedagon Pagoda – this 98-metre-high stupa is covered with tons and tons of pure gold, along with jade, rubies, sapphires, and diamonds. This is, literally and symbolically, the jewel in the Myanmar crown. Maybe gather together your new best buds and tuck into a farewell dinner at Linkage Restaurant, a vocational training restaurant that’s part of Friends International.
Day 13Yangon
This trip ends today and you are free to leave at any time after you check out. See ya!

More info

Trip title

Real Myanmar

Trip code



Validity: 01 Oct 2018 to 31 Dec 2019


Not all that long ago, many parts of Myanmar were still off-limits to travellers. Lucky for you, that’s no longer the case, although outside the cities you'll find large parts of the country remain relatively new to tourism. Check out the busy streets of Yangon, the thousands of orange temples that rise over green plains in Bagan, take a cruise up the Ayeyarwady River in Mandalay, head into the st... Read more




18 to 29s


Boat,Private vehicle,Ferry,Plane,Public bus

Physical Rating


Joining point

Hotel K

Finish point

Hotel K

Important information

1. Please provide passport details at time of booking with exact name as per passport, as these are essential for booking services on this trip. 2. A Single Supplement is bookable on this trip, including all nights, subject to availability. 3. The ferry from Bagan to Mandalay may be cancelled due to changing water levels on the Ayeyarwady River (usually February to May) and when there are fewer to... Read more

Group leader

All Intrepid group trips are accompanied by one of our group leaders. The aim of the group leader is to take the hassle out of your travels and to help you have the best trip possible. Intrepid endeavours to provide the services of an experienced leader however, due to the seasonality of travel, rare situations may arise where your leader is new to a particular region or training other group leade... Read more


Many national governments provide a regularly updated advice service on safety issues involved with international travel. We recommend that you check your government's advice for their latest travel information before departure and ensure that your travel insurance covers you for all areas your itinerary covers. Please refer to our website's safety page for links to major travel advisories and upd... Read more


MOBILE PHONES AND INTERNET: Communication services in Myanmar are improving. Internet services are available but are unreliable outside cities and large towns. The telephone network is also unreliable and limited to cities and large towns. International GSM roaming is available for a limited number of international mobile phone carriers. Many travellers choose to buy a local SIM card upon arrival ... Read more


As a general rule most countries expect that your passport has a minimum of 6 months validity remaining. Please ensure the name on your passport matches the name on your booking and airline tickets. Your passport details are required to complete your booking. Your consultant will contact you when this is required. Take a copy of the main passport pages and other important documents with you, and l... Read more

Why we love it

Start and finish your explorations of Myanmar in incredible Yangon, rapidly developing but still packed with beautiful pagodas, astounding giant Buddhas and more history than you can poke a stick at. Your leader will show you around downtown, then it's yours to explore.

Is this trip right for you

Myanmar is a large country with developing infrastructure. We are attempting to cover large distances in a short amount of time, so expect some long travel days as we travel between destinations. The river trip too will take the whole day, but it's a great chance to watch life along the banks of the river. Pack some card games, books or download plenty of podcasts to last you the trip. While not... Read more


All travellers need to be in good physical health in order to participate fully on this trip. When selecting your trip please make sure you have read through the itinerary carefully and assess your ability to cope with our style of travel. Please note that if, in the opinion of our group leader or local guide, any traveller is unable to complete the itinerary without undue risk to themselves and/o... Read more

Food and dietary requirements

While travelling with us you'll experience the vast array of wonderful food available in the world. Your group leader will be able to suggest restaurants to try during your trip. To give you the maximum flexibility in deciding where, what and with whom to eat, generally not all meals are included in the trip price. This also gives you more budgeting flexibility. As a rule our groups tend to eat to... Read more

Money matters

SPENDING MONEY: When it comes to spending money on the trip, every traveller is a little different. You know your spending habits better than we do, so please budget a sensible amount for things like meals not included, drinks, shopping, optional activities and laundry. It's always better to bring a little more than you think you'll need. Also make sure you've read your trip details thoroughly so ... Read more

What to take

MAIN LUGGAGE What you need to bring will vary according to when you are travelling. Generally speaking, we recommend you pack as lightly as possible and make sure that you are able to carry and lift your own luggage, and walk with it for short distances including up and down stairs and in busy train stations. Our travellers usually find the smaller their luggage is, the more they enjoy the trip no... Read more

Climate and seasonal

WATER FESTIVAL (THINGYAN) - 13-16 April 2019 & 2020 This Buddhist Water Festival typically falls in mid-April each year, and usually involves water throwing to wash away the previous year before the New Year commences. During this important national holiday many businesses close or only offer limited services, or will impose additional public holiday service charges. This includes the closure of s... Read more

A couple of rules

Everyone has the right to feel safe when they travel. We don’t tolerate any form of violence (verbal or physical) or sexual harassment, either between customers or involving our leaders, partners or local people. Sexual relationships between a tour leader and a customer are strictly forbidden. Use or possession of illegal drugs will not be tolerated on our trips. If you choose to consume alcohol... Read more


After your travels, we want to hear from you! We rely on your feedback. We read it carefully. Feedback helps us understand what we are doing well and what we could be doing better. It allows us to make improvements for future travellers.

Emergency contact

While we always endeavour to provide the best possible holiday experience, due to the nature of travel and the areas we visit sometimes things can and do go wrong. Should any issue occur while you are on your trip, it is imperative that you discuss this with your group leader or our local representative straight away so that they can do their best to rectify the problem and save any potential nega... Read more

Responsible travel

We believe strongly in low impact or rather positive impact tourism. Broadly speaking this means that we try to minimise the negative aspects of tourism on the local cultures and environments that we visit and highlight the positive aspects. Please visit our website for further details and suggestions on how you can be a responsible traveller. Read more

The Intrepid Foundation

Help us change thousands of lives by creating meaningful work and supporting skills training in communities around the world. The Intrepid Foundation is the not-for-profit for Intrepid Group. We work with local organisations around the world to improve the livelihoods of vulnerable individuals and communities through sustainable travel experiences. With our travellers’ help, we’ve contributed mo... Read more

Accommodation notes

The style of accommodation indicated in the day-to-day itinerary is a guideline. On rare occasions, alternative arrangements may need to be made due to the lack of availability of rooms in our usual accommodation. A similar standard of accommodation will be used in these instances. Throughout the trip we request that our lodgings prepare rooms in time for our arrival, especially if we're arriving... Read more

Transport notes

FLIGHTS: Please provide your name as per passport 45 days prior to the departure date for flight tickets to be issued. For internal flights we fly the following safety audited airlines: Golden Myanmar Airlines, Yangon Airways, Air Kan Baw Za (KBZ) and Mann Yadanarpon Airlines. It is common for airlines to make last-minute changes to our confirmed group bookings on internal flights, and to re-book ... Read more

Travel insurance

Travel insurance is compulsory for all our trips. We require that, at a minimum, you are covered for medical expenses including emergency repatriation. We strongly recommend that the policy also covers personal liability, cancellation, curtailment and loss of luggage and personal effects. When travelling on a trip, you won't be permitted to join the group until evidence of travel insurance and th... Read more

Your fellow travellers

As you travel on a group trip you will be exposed to all the pleasures and maybe some of the frustrations of travelling in a group. Your fellow travellers will probably come from all corners of the world and likely a range of age groups too. We ask you to be understanding of the various needs and preferences of your group - patience with your fellow travellers is sometimes required for the benefit... Read more

Itinerary disclaimer

ITINERARY CHANGES: Our itineraries are updated regularly throughout the year based on customer feedback and to reflect the current situation in each destination. The information included in this Essential Trip Information may therefore differ from when you first booked your trip. It is important that you print and review a final copy prior to travel so that you have the latest updates. Due to weat... Read more


Hotel (12 nights)
€1,175per person
Select dates
Oct 21
Nov 2
Seats left: 14
Nov 25
Dec 7
Seats left: 16
Dec 23
Jan 4
Seats left: 16