Myanmar: A Cultural Journey through Burma

12 days
Myanmar has kept one foot firmly in the past—city dwellers stroll the streets in traditional longyi, while canoes and horse-drawn carriages remain preferred means of transport. It’s this slower style of life that affords ample time to take in the country’s staggering number of temples and pagodas.

Let us handle the details

Expert Tour Director

      Local       cuisine

Handpicked hotels

Sightseeing with local guides

Private transportation

Personalized flight options

Tour group size: 15 - 22 travelers

Tour pace: You will walk for about 3.5 hours daily across mostly flat terrain, including narrow walkways and dirt paths, with some hills and stairs.

Let us handle the details

Expert Tour Director

      Local       cuisine

Handpicked hotels

Sightseeing with local guides

Private transportation

Personalized flight options

Your tour includes

  • 10 nights in handpicked hotels

  • Breakfast daily, 4 lunches, 4 three-course dinners with beer or wine

  • Multilingual Tour Director

  • Private deluxe motor coach

  • Guided sightseeing and select entrance fees

Overnight Flight 1 night

Day 1: Travel day

Board your overnight flight to Southeast Asia today.

Yangon 2 nights Hotel info

Day 2: Arrival in Southeast Asia

  Included meals: Breakfast

Arrive in Yangon, Myanmar this evening and transfer to your hotel.

Day 3: Sightseeing tour of Yangon & Bogyoke Aung San Market visit

  Included meals: Breakfast, Dinner

Set out on a sightseeing tour to discover eclectic Yangon, the former capital of Myanmar. This cultural and economic hub boasts international architecture, as 19th-century British colonial styles mix with Chinese, Indian and local influences.

• Walk through the bustling Bahan Market and make a photo stop at the palatial Karaweik Royal Barge on the eastern shore of Kandawgyi Lake

• Enter the Chauk Htat Gyi Pagoda to admire the iconic Reclining Buddha and then learn about Myanmar’s Buddhist tradition at the Kalaywa Monastery

This afternoon, browse local products such as lacquerware and jewelry during a visit to the Bogyoke Aung San Market before joining your Tour Director and fellow travelers at a welcome dinner.

Mandalay 2 nights Hotel info

Day 4: Sightseeing tour of Mandalay & Mandalay Hill

  Included meals: Breakfast

Fly to Mandalay and witness the city’s history with your Tour Director leading the way.

• Stop at a silk weaving factory to learn about the production process

• Visit Mahamuni Pagoda, the Golden Palace Monastery and Kuthodaw Pagoda, where hundreds of stone tablets comprise “the world’s largest book”

• Ascend Mandalay Hill by small trucks and escalator to watch the sunset

Day 5: Mingun, the Sagaing Hills & the U Bein Bridge

  Included meals: Breakfast, Lunch

Board a ferry and head upriver from Mandalay to Mingun for a guided sightseeing tour.

• See the 90-ton Mingun Bell at the unfinished Mingun Pagoda

• Visit the architecturally impressive Myatheindan Pagoda and gaze at its seven circular terraces

Later, transfer back to Mandalay for lunch before driving to the stupa-dotted Sagaing Hills for a guided tour.  

• Take a truck ride to the Soon U Ponya Shin Pagoda in the Sagaing Hills

• Visit the U Bein Bridge, the longest teak bridge in the world

Bagan 2 nights Hotel info

Day 6: Irrawaddy River Cruise

  Included meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Today, take a leisurely day cruise down the Irrawaddy River from Mandalay to Bagan.

• Enjoy lunch as you float by riverside villages, pagodas and rice paddies

• After disembarking, meet a local family and share a traditional meal in their home

Day 7: Bagan Temples, Nyaung Oo Market & sunset pony cart ride

  Included meals: Breakfast

Continue your exploration of Bagan. This ancient city is home to the largest and densest collection of Buddhist temples, stupas, pagodas and ruins in the world.

• View the gilded Shwezigon Pagoda, crumbling Gubyaukgyi Temple, Htilominlo Temple and Ananda Temple

• Walk through the Nyaung Oo to learn about local life

• Visit a home in Phwar Saw Village to discover traditional weaving, husbandry and food processing techniques

• Stop at a lacquerware workshop to see the ancient art in action

• Ride pony carts through temples and villages not accessible by motor vehicle and watch the sunset over the temples

Inle Lake 2 nights Hotel info

Day 8: Flight to Inle Lake

  Included meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Fly to Heho, where you’ll transfer to tranquil Inle Lake. Then, embark on a guided sightseeing tour of the lakeside town of Nyaung Shwe, including a visit to the Shwe Yan Pyay Monastery..

Day 9: Sightseeing tour of Inle Lake & cooking class

  Included meals: Breakfast, Lunch

Continue your exploration of Inle Lake by long-tail boat with your Tour Director as your guide.

• Visit the Phaung Daw U Pagoda, home to gold-leaf Buddha statues

•Enjoy a cooking class and lunch held in a stilted, waterfront house

• Stop in the silk-weaving village of Inn Paw Khon, where weavers create traditional longyi and other garments from the fibrous lotus root

• Enter a cigar factory in Nampan Village, where women hand-roll cheroot cigars

Day 10: Indein market visit & Inle Lake canoe ride

  Included meals: Breakfast

Dive deeper into the culture of the region on today’s series of visits.

• Ride a long-tail boat to the five-day market, a nomadic shopping experience (Please note: The market visit may occur on day nine, depending on the schedule)

• Uncover the Indein Pagoda Complex’s collection of gold stupas

• Head to a floating farm to learn how local farmers create their buoyant fields

• Climb aboard a canoe to take in the scenery from the water, as fishermen paddle by in the distinctive local style: standing, with one leg wrapped around the oar

Overnight Flight 2 nights

Day 11: Sightseeing tour of Yangon & departure

  Included meals: Breakfast, Dinner

Transfer to Heho today to fly back to Yangon. Upon arrival, explore Yangon’s Colonial District with your Tour Director. 

• Visit the Sule Pagoda, which is named for the spirit Sularata

• Watch the sun set over the gilded Shwedagon Pagoda

Later, relax in a dayroom before joining your group for a farewell dinner. Then, transfer to the airport to board your flight home. If you are continuing to Laos, you’ll fly to Luang Prabang tomorrow.

Day 12: Arrival at home

Arrive home today.

Add Laos Starting from $1,499 pp

This oft-forgotten corner of Southeast Asia is fast becoming one of the world’s most sought-after destinations. While the country boasts peaceful, untouched environments and centuries-old traditions, it’s the amazingly relaxed style of life that really creates an incredible travel experience for all.

Luang Prabang 3 nights

Day 12: Flight to Laos & night market tour

  Included meals: Breakfast, Dinner

This morning, fly through Bangkok to Luang Prabang, a city tucked beneath temple-topped hillsides. Join the group for dinner at a local restaurant. Tonight, experience the Night Market, where local villagers showcase their handicrafts—and the easygoing Laotian attitude keeps the browsing low-pressure.

Day 13: Sightseeing tour of Luang Prabang

  Included meals: Breakfast, Lunch

Get to know the fascinating culture of Luang Prabang with your Tour Director.

• Visit Wat Xieng Thong, the Temple of the Golden City, located where the Mekong and Nam Khan Rivers join

• Board a riverboat for a trip up the Mekong toward the Pak Ou caves, where hundreds of Buddha statues overlook the water

• Stop at the village of Ban Xanghai to sample locally produced rice wine 

• This afternoon, visit the impressive That Makmo stupa at Vat Visoun before scaling Phou Sii hill for panoramic views of the city

• Transfer to the village of Ban Phanom, where residents rely on ancient weaving techniques to create patterns that have been worn for centuries

Day 14: Tak Bat, National Museum & picnic lunch

  Included meals: Breakfast, Lunch

Rise before the sun to experience the Tak Bat, the Buddhist monks’ morning rounds, then continue to explore the city.

• See the brightly robed monks silently file down the street collecting food and alms offered by residents who line up with bowls of sticky rice

• Learn more about Laotian culture and history at the National Museum at Haw Kham, a former royal palace

• Escape the city this afternoon for free time and a picnic lunch at the picturesque Kuang Si waterfalls

Vientiane 2 nights

Day 15: Flight to Vientiane

  Included meals: Breakfast

Spend a free morning in Luang Prabang before boarding an afternoon flight to Vientiane, the sleepy Laotian capital on the banks of the Mekong River.

Day 16: Sightseeing tour of Vientiane

  Included meals: Breakfast, Lunch

Get to know Vientiane with a full day of sightseeing around the city. 

• Visit Wat Sisaket, the town’s oldest temple that was built in 1818 and today houses hundreds of Buddha images

• Explore the historic Haw Phra Kaew, the former royal palace and see the Patousay, the victory gate inspired by Paris’ Arc de Triomphe

• Learn about local charitable initiatives at COPE, a non-profit that provides services for survivors of land mine explosions and related accidents

• Stroll through the Xieng Khuan Buddha Park, a whimsical collection of statues depicting Buddhist and Hindu deities

• Stop at the Friendship Bridge, which connects with the Thai city of Nong Khai 

• Observe a local weaver at the Carol Cassidy Gallery & Weaver Workshop

Day 17: Flight home via Bangkok

  Included meals: Breakfast

Fly to Bangkok this morning to relax in a dayroom before your evening or early morning flight home.

Overnight Flight 1 night

Day 18: Arrival at home

Arrive home today.

How's the weather?

  • Yangon, Myanmar
  • Mandalay, Myanmar
  • Bagan, Myanmar
  • Inle Lake, Myanmar
Temperature Precipitation
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Passport & visa requirements

  • In order to enter Myanmar (plus Laos and Thailand on the tour extension), U.S. and Canadian citizens need a valid passport with an expiration date extending at least six months beyond the date of return. 
  • We recommend having at least three blank passport pages for entry stamps.
  • U.S. and Canadian passport holders must obtain a visa to enter Myanmar (and Laos on the tour extension). The visa for entry into Myanmar must be secured in advance. To enter Laos, you may choose to obtain your visa at the port of entry upon arrival. You can obtain your individual visas by applying directly to each country’s consulate or by using a visa provider, such as our partner company, VisaCentral
  • There is no visa required for U.S. or Canadian citizens traveling to Thailand on the tour extension.
  • If you are not a U.S. or Canadian citizen, you must contact each country's consulate for your specific entry requirements.

Tour pace

  • You will walk for about 3.5 hours daily across mostly flat terrain, including narrow walkways and dirt paths, with some hills and stairs. 
  • Travelers should be healthy enough to participate in all included walks without assistance. 
  • You should feel comfortable managing your own luggage at times, as well as getting in and out of boats and small pick-up trucks.
  • If you have any mobility concerns or physical restrictions, please contact our Customer Experience Team.

Transportation & arrival information

  • Round-trip flights booked through Go Ahead arrive in and depart from Yangon (or from Bangkok on the tour extension). A Go Ahead representative will meet you at the airport and take you to your hotel. Please remain in the arrival lounge, as the representative might be escorting one of your fellow travelers to the bus at the time of your arrival.
  • Transfers to and from the airport at your destination are included for travelers who have purchased their flights through Go Ahead. Travelers who purchase their own flights may request airport transfers with Go Ahead for an additional cost.
  • Flights from Yangon to Mandalay, Mandalay to Bagan, Bagan to Heho and Heho to Yangon, as well as boat rides in Bagan, Madalay and Inle Lake are included in the price of your tour. (The tour extension also includes flights from Yangon to Luang Prabang via Bangkok, Luang Prabang to Vientiane and Vientiane to Bangkok.)
  • All other included transportation on this tour is by private motor coach.

Baggage allowance

  • Airlines have varying weight restrictions on baggage. Some airlines may impose additional charges if you choose to check any baggage; be advised that you are responsible for any such costs.
  • Contact your airline for detailed information regarding baggage size and weight restrictions for your flight, but please note that Go Ahead travelers are restricted to one checked bag per person due to storage limitations on motor coaches and other transfers, which may include train connections or flights. We recommend that you limit your baggage to under 44lbs to avoid charges on included flights within Myanmar.
  • One carry-on bag is also permitted, provided that it does not exceed 45 total inches (length + width + height).
  • Make sure you label your baggage and keep valuables, medication and documents in your carry-on bag.

Clothing & packing tips

  • We recommend packing lightweight, loose-fitting clothing that can be easily layered to accommodate varying temperatures, as well as a light jacket or rainwear.
  • A sturdy pair of walking shoes or sneakers is recommended for sightseeing. Please note that you will be required to remove your shoes at all Buddhist religious sites.
  • Waterproof shoes or sandals, a swimsuit, sunscreen and insect repellent are recommended for outdoor activities 
  • Binoculars are handy for a closer look at local wildlife and scenery.
  • You may want to pack dressier attire if you plan to visit a high-end restaurant or attend a special performance.
  • It is preferable not to visit temples or other religious sites with bare legs and shoulders (and entrance may be denied on this basis).

Health

  • At least 60 days prior to departure, check with your doctor or healthcare provider for the latest updates and entry requirements, or visit the Center for Disease Control and Prevention website at cdc.gov.
  • Please be sure to take proper care with sun exposure, the sun can be especially strong in some of the areas you are visiting. 
  • Drink bottled water only. Refrain from drinking tap water, including when brushing your teeth.
  • Bring a small first aid kit, including antacids, anti-diarrhea medication, motion sickness medication and any prescription medications in your carry-on bag. 
  • Avoid eating fresh fruits and vegetables unless they are cooked or washed in clean water and peeled.
  • If you have medication that you take daily, be sure you have enough for each day of the tour and any possible delays encountered.
  • Certain over-the-counter and prescription medications may be banned in one or all of the countries on this tour. Importing these drugs can carry severe consequences, including imprisonment. Please consult your healthcare provider prior to departure to ensure that any drugs you may want to bring with you are legal in all countries you will visit.
  • If you have dietary restrictions and/or food allergies please notify Go Ahead at least 30 days prior to your departure by logging in to goaheadtours.com and updating your traveler info. To update this information closer to your departure date, please call our Customer Experience Team.

Cuisine

  • The cuisine of Myanmar reflects the country’s multicultural influences, blending flavors from China, India and Thailand. Seafood dishes are popular throughout. In inland areas, freshwater fish and shrimp feature heavily on most menus alongside traditional beef and pork options. Most meals include rice, noodles or curries—and due to the region’s various religious dietary restrictions, most dishes can be prepared vegetarian upon request. Ngapi, a versatile paste made from fermented fish or shrimp, is often present as a soup base, salad dressing or condiment. 
  • Laotian cuisine is strongly influenced by the neighboring northern Thailand, with sticky rice served with everything from spicy meat and vegetables to papaya salad. #Electricity & air conditioning
  • Myanmar and Laos (plus Thailand on the tour extension) operate on 220 volts and use Types C, E or F plugs with two small, round pins. 
  • We recommend packing a universal adapter, as well as a voltage converter if you plan on using your own hairdryer or other device without a built-in converter.
  • The strength of the air conditioning in Asian hotels is often not as strong or as cool as what one might be used to in the U.S. or Canada. When air conditioning is available, it is usually regulated seasonally and controlled centrally by the hotel.
  • Your hotels may provide hairdryers, irons and other small appliances. However, these amenities cannot be guaranteed.

Connectivity

  • Wi-Fi is available in most hotels, though some charges may apply. 
  • There is no Wi-Fi on any of the motor coaches. 
  • Please contact your mobile service provider for information on roaming charges.

Time zones

  • Myanmar is 11.5 hours ahead of Eastern Standard Time (EST). 
  • Laos (on the tour extension) is 12 hours ahead of EST. 
  • When it’s 9am in New York, it’s 8:30pm on the same day in Myanmar and 9pm on the same day in Laos.

Currency

  • You will use the kyat in Myanmar (plus the Lao kip and Thai baht on the tour extension).
  • Better rates of exchange are usually available overseas, although it’s worth ordering some currency from your local bank to use when you first arrive. Most shops accept U.S. dollars.
  • We strongly advise that you take debit/bank cards and credit cards, which can be used to withdraw cash at local banks as needed. 
  • You can use most debit/credit cards at ATMs on the international networks Cirrus and Plus, but make sure to check with your home bank about withdrawal fees. 
  • ATMs are not widely available, so we recommend withdrawing money at the airport or in central Yangon. We advise that you take a combination of bank/ATM cards, USD and credit cards.
  • Inform your bank and credit card company of your travel plans so that they won’t confuse your international purchases for fraudulent charges.
  • International banks and businesses primarily accept debit and credit cards that work with the EMV chip system. If you do not already have at least one debit or credit card with a chip in it, we strongly recommend requesting one from your bank prior to your tour.

Tipping

  • At the conclusion of your tour, it’s customary to offer your Tour Director and driver a gratuity in local currency. Please keep current exchange rates in mind.
  • We recommend tipping the equivalent of $7USD/CAD to $10USD/CAD per person per day for your Tour Director and the equivalent of $3USD/CAD per person per day for your driver.
  • If applicable, we also recommend the equivalent of $2USD/CAD per local guide. 
  • Tips can only be paid in cash.

Purchasing excursions on tour

  • Most optional excursions will be available for purchase while you are on tour.
  • Your Tour Director will only accept cash (in USD only), Visa or MasterCard as payment for excursions. 
  • Please be advised that if you pay for an excursion by credit card while on tour, it may take up to three months for your card to be charged. 
  • Some optional excursions may only be purchased in advance. See page four of your tour itinerary for more information.

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