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Burma Discovery


  • Destination:
  • Duration: 12 days
  • Price: from $3,199
Itinerary at a glance Tour Highlights Your tour includes
  • 2 nights in Yangon
  • 2 nights in Bagan
  • 3 nights in Mandalay
  • 2 nights in Inle Lake


  • Sule Pagoda (Yangon)
  • Shisana Lion Throne (Yangon)
  • Shwedagon Pagoda (Yangon)
  • Ananda Temple (Bagan)
  • Nyaung Oo Market (Bagan)
  • Mahamuni Pagoda (Mandalay)
  • Shwe Kyaung (Mandalay)
  • Bagaya Kyaung (Mandalay)
  • U Bein Bridge (Mandalay)
  • Mingun Pagoda
  • Inle Lake
  • Round-trip airfare from Los Angeles via scheduled Korean Airlines wide-body jet (New York JFK add $150)
  • Airfare taxes, fees & fuel surcharges
  • All intra-Myanmar flights and ground transportation
  • Accommodations at deluxe and first class hotels
  • 18 meals: 9 full American breakfasts (B), 3 lunches (L) and 6 dinners (D)
  • Comprehensive sightseeing tours including admission fees
  • English-speaking Tour Director


Click on the tabs below to learn more!

Day 1
Depart USA.
Your comprehensive journey on our mystical Myanmar tours, formerly known as our Burma tours, begin this evening as you depart today on your wide-body jet flight bound for Asia.
Day 2
Arrive Yangon (Myanmar).
Evening arrival in Yangon (Rangoon), Myanmar’s vibrant major metropolis. Yangon lies in the fertile delta of southern Myanmar, on the wide Yangon River. The city is filled with tree-shaded boulevards, while shimmering Buddhist stupas float above the treetops. Yangon became the capital in 1885, when the British completed the conquest of Upper Myanmar and Mandalay’s brief period as capital of the last Burmese kingdom ended. You’ll be greeted at the airport by your tour director and transfer to your upscale, conveniently located hotel. PARKROYAL Yangon Hotel or similar.
Day 3
Today, a local expert leads you on a full day guided tour of the downtown area, where the British colonial influence is still evident. Begin with a visit to the gleaming Sule Pagoda that marks the center of the city. Next, explore the National Museum to gain further insight into Myanmar’s rich history. Here, view the 25 foot high Sihasana Lion Throne, used by the last Burmese king as well as other fascinating artifacts. Enjoy some free time at the famous Scott Market, containing a vast selection of beautiful Burmese handicrafts. In the afternoon, visit some of Yangon’s renowned pagodas including the vast reclining Buddha at Chaukhtatgyi Pagoda and magnificent Shwedagon Pagoda. Towering over the city, this pagoda, believed to have been built some 2,500 years ago, is the most sacred spot in the country. The pagoda is covered with gold plates and its top dome is encrusted with thousands of sparkling diamonds and rubies. The Shwedagon and surrounding shrines are best viewed at sunset when you can admire the amazing sight of the changing colors. This evening join your fellow travelers for a welcome dinner at a famous local restaurant. (B,D)

Day 4
This morning, board a short flight to Bagan, “the city of four million pagodas” that distills the very essence of Myanmar’s Buddhist culture. Bagan is a spectacular plain stretching away from the Irrawaddy River, dotted with numerous 800-year old temple ruins that make up for one of the richest archaeological sites in all of Asia. You’ll visit some of the most significant shrines including Schwezigon, Gubyaukhyi Temple, Htilominlo and the amazingly preserved and most revered Ananda Temple with its golden spires. Later, visit the colorful and bustling Nyaung Oo Market and enjoy the unique atmosphere.  Bagan Hotel River View or similar (B,D)

Day 5
This morning, continue your guided exploration of Bagan’s temple complex. After lunch at a local restaurant explore Bagan from a different perspective, by horse-drawn cart. The cart ride takes you off the beaten track to areas not reachable by car and give you unique close up access to some of the most remote and fascinating temples. Finish off a thrilling day admiring the beautiful sunset from the summit of a pagoda. (B,L)

Day 6
Today fly to fabled Mandalay, Myanmar’s second largest city and at once the center of commerce and a repository of ancient culture. Enjoy a guided visit to the Mahamuni Pagoda, housing one of the most sacred statues of Buddha. En route to the pagoda, stop to observe the laborious process of gold-leaf beating, where gold is painstakingly hammered into tissue-thin squares and see some other handicraft workshops, specializing in woodcarving, marble masonry and tapestry making that Mandalay is renowned for. Proceed to the Shwe Kyaung, the Golden Teak Monastery that was once part of the Mandalay Palace, famous for its intricate woodcarvings. Later, visit the Kuthodaw Pagoda, housing the Buddhist scripture that is carved on hundreds of massive marble slabs. Conclude your day by savoring the panoramic views from atop Mandalay Hill. Sedona Hotel Mandalay or similar (B,D)

Day 7
On today’s included tour visit three former royal capitals, each with its own unique atmosphere. In the morning, drive to Amarapura where you’ll visit Mahagandayon Monastery where every day at mid-morning, monks and novices line up to receive their daily offering of alms and food from faithful Buddhists. Next, head to Sagaing, the spiritual center of the country on our Myanmar tours. Numerous stupas, monasteries, temples and nunneries are to be found in Sagaing Hill, where thousands of monks and nuns retreat for meditation and contemplation. Later, cross the river by ferry to Inwa (Ava), situated on the banks of the Irrawaddy River. Once a royal capital, Inwa is now a quiet rural oasis. Enjoy a leisurely horse-drawn carriage ride around the peaceful countryside, briefly visiting Bagaya Kyaung, a beautiful teak wood monastery. On the way, stop and observe how local artisans make the famous alms bowls out of iron. Finally, return to Amarapura to view the renowned U Bein Bridge, the longest teak bridge in the world extending over picturesque Taungthaman Lake. At dusk, the bridge teems with monks and locals as they stroll along and linger to enjoy the colors of the sunset. (B,L)

Day 8
Mingun Excursion/Mandalay.
This morning cruise upriver by motor boat to nearby Mingun, enjoying along the route the views of exotic fishing villages, market boats, women attending to their washing, and children playing in the water. Upon arrival, explore the ruins of the vast Mingun Pagoda, a monument to human ambition that was never finished, its size would have dwarfed all contemporary pagodas. Return to Mandalay by boat and enjoy some free time in the afternoon to explore independently or relax at your hotel’s poolside. (B)

Day 9
Mandalay/Heho/Inle Lake.
Board this morning a short flight to Heho. Upon arrival, embark on a scenic drive through the countryside to the small town of Nyaung Shwe, the gateway to splendid Inle Lake where you’ll take a private boat transfer to your lakeside hotel. Inle Lake is a vast, picturesque lake surrounded by hazy blue mountains. The lake’s shore and islands are home to 17 villages built on stilts and inhabited by the native Intha people, mostly farmers and fishermen that are renowned for their unique way of rowing. The balance of the day is at leisure to relax and soak the views and the unique atmosphere of this magical region. Enjoy an included dinner at your hotel tonight. Novotel Inle Lake Myat Min  (B,D)

Day 10
Inle Lake.
Today’s included thrilling boat excursion of magical Inle Lake, offers an insider’s view of life in this unique community where villages, farms and a monastery perch over the water on stilts and float on pads of reeds and earth. You’ll encounter the boat rowers that became famous for using one leg to power an oar and also see floating gardens, fascinating fishing villages and observe village life. Later visit a local market where you’ll see the native Shan people that wear their colorful tribal costumes. Life in this area remains very traditional and the market visit offers a great opportunity to experience the life of the Shan tribes. Today’s sightseeing also includes a visit to the Phaung Daw U Pagoda with its five gilded Buddha images and to a silk weaving village. This evening, enjoy an included dinner. (B,L,D)

Day 11
Inle Lake/Yangon
In the morning return to Nyaung Shwe by boat and drive to the nearby airport for your short return flight to Yangon. This afternoon enjoy a guided walk through bustling Chinatown, filled with markets selling fresh produce and flowers. Stop at a typical shop to observe the making of flat rice noodles and rice flour pancakes. Proceed to the Indian Quarter, passing Hindu Temples and the Jewish Synagogue. Later, enjoy a trishaw ride and view colonial style buildings including the historic Strand Hotel. This evening join your fellow travelers for an included farewell dinner. After dinner, transfer to the airport for your late night flight. (B,D)

Day 12
An overnight flight to Seoul, Korea where you’ll connect for your flight back home. Your exciting journey from your Burma tours come to an end as you touch down in the USA later today.

Trip Preparation


Your departure flights from the USA to Burma and back are on Korean Air.  Flights are scheduled to depart as follows:


Los Angeles (LAX)

New York (JFK)

Departure Date
Return Depart


You are expected to arrive at your departure airport at least 3 1/2 hours before your scheduled departure. Please make sure to allow sufficient time for clearing immigration and customs if you are planning a connecting flight.  We recommend at least 3 ½ hours.  Please keep in mind that flight schedules are always subject to change.


Korean Airlines does not assign seats in advance. Please note that smarTours is not involved with your seat assignment. It is between you and the airline! However, we are suggesting that you check-in early to request for your seat(s) at the airport.


You must be in possession of a passport valid for at least 6 months after the date of travel with at least one blank visa page (amendment and endorsement pages cannot be used to fulfill this requirement). Additionally, a visa is required for American passport holders to enter Myanmar (Burma) prior to departure.  To obtain a visa, you may contact the Myanmar Embassy directly Tel: (202) 332-3344, 332-4350 or 332-4352 or  For residents of New York, Connecticut, New Jersey and Jamaica island, you must apply for the visa at the Myanmar Permanent Mission in New York.  You may contact the New York mission at (212) 744-1271, 744-1275 or 744-1279 or  Alternatively, we arranged for a visa assistance service, “CIBT” to facilitate this for you for a handling fee.  Please use the following link to download instructions and forms at  If you do not have access to a computer please contact CIBT to have a form mailed to you.  If you have any questions regarding obtaining your visa, you may call CIBT at 1-800-406-1523Also, please note that visa procedures may change at any time.  You should check with CIBT online at, for the most up to date instructions and rates before submitting your paperwork.   We suggest that you apply for your visa no more than 60 days before departure. While you may find online that a visa “on arrival” may be possible, we strongly discourage this due to problems with this procedure and recommend to obtain the visa prior to departure. Please remember that it is your responsibility to obtain the necessary travel documents before the trip.

PLEASE NOTE:  A letter addressed to the Myanmar Embassy and an itinerary will be mailed to you approximately 60 days prior to your departure date.  This letter will have the addresses and telephone numbers of the hotels and the land operator in Burma.  You will need to present these with your visa application.


Your airline tickets along with final instruction and some additional travel tips will be sent 10 – 7 days before your scheduled departure.  Please make sure to advise us in case your address changes. 


Immunizations are NOT currently required; however, we suggest that you consult your personal physician or local public health authorities as to their suggestions including anti-Malaria medication. 


Myanmar’s weather is tropical. From October through February daytime temperatures are in the 80’s and low 90’s. In March and April daytime temperatures average in the 90’s.  Nighttime and early morning temperatures are cooler. 


Average cost for dinner (excluding drinks) in your hotel is about $25 – $30 per meal per person excluding drinks. Lunch at local restaurants averages $15 per person. 


Cash (US dollars) is the best way to pay for non-included expenses. We suggest to bring US dollars in smaller denominations (as well as larger denominations for tipping). When you pay in US dollars, you’ll receive change in local currency that cannot be converted back to dollars when you leave. Credit cards are accepted on a very limited basis in major hotels only. ATMs are not available, except for at airports. Cell phone service is not available and making international calls from your hotels is quite expensive. Internet service is also very limited!


Each passenger may bring one piece of checked-in luggage (1 suitcase maximum 44 pounds) and one carry-on piece (no more than 18”x10”x8”). Please do not over-pack and that you take a variety of separates with climate and comfort in mind.

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Average rating:  
 4 reviews
by Teri Brown on smarTours

We have only kudos for this trip. The size of the group (12), the guide, the hotels, the itinerary and the weather all made for a magnificent exoerience. Only issue we had was having to leave from the US (there are direct flights from Toronto t Seoul on the same airline) added exchange rate and additional flight and hotel expenses. Other than that...perfect! Highly recommended Teri B.

by John Sharkey on smarTours
Burma Discovery

Great trip, great guide

Interesting places, right amount of time,nice hotels, great food

by v. mooney on smarTours

Great tour and great group of 14. Fun fun fun adventure, extremely well organized and good guide. Would recommend this trip.
Only negative was the long layover in Seoul on the return

by Robert Davis on smarTours
Almost Perfect - But things I wish I knew

Great destination with a good guide and an experience you won't find elsewhere. I would highly recommend a visit to Myanmar. It is a fascinating place. Smartours provides a very good package, great accommodations, sightseeing and travel arrangements. My only criticism would be that smartours information is out of date and there are things that I wish I knew. The information packet states that Visa is the only card accepted and not very widely. In fact Visa and Mastercard were widely accepted at all hotels and most merchants. Cash was only required at restaurants, street vendors and such. This should be local currency and might have accounted for about $250 for the two of us for the whole trip. ATMs available at airports, some banks and hotels worked fine and were visa/cirrus/plus. We carried WAY more cash than was required. The tip about US cash being accepted without creases, rips or nicks is very accurate (even at currency exchange booths).

One last thing concerning the final day of the trip. Scott market is a waste after the shopping opportunities that have been available throughout the trip. Smartours recognizes that you will be up all day on the final day before you check in for a midnight flight back to the US which will be something like 20 hours. They rent a couple of rooms for everyone to shower in (not that appealing). They should communicate the details of the last day in the information packet so that the traveler is aware of this. They should also offer the option to skip Scott Market, and pay and additional fee for a private room to use from 2pm to 8:30pm when you leave from the airport so that you can get a nap and shower before your long journey back.

A great trip and we would recommend.

Hi Robert - thank you very much for the detailed and thoughtful feedback, and we are so glad that you had a "great trip" and "would recommend" to others. Your comments will help us improve the trip. Regarding the cash/credit card/ATM machine comment, despite the progress that you described, our local team has discouraged us from changing the documents due to issues they've seen, but we will revisit this with them. And as for Scott Market, we have not heard this critical feedback before, but we will certainly keep it in mind.

Check out photos taken by smarTours travelers on this trip of a lifetime!

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