The Pagoda Pass opens the doors to the elusive world of Myanmar. Explore this unspoiled country and its rich tapestry of life on a 10 day guided journey from Yangon to Mandalay. Delve into a world of sparkling temples, ancient Buddhist history and vibrant village life. Hike into the hill-tribe area Kalaw and glide onto Inle Lake, learning the daily rituals of life on the water. Get off the beaten track and see more and do more than the average tourist.
- All Transport - whether it be on quality air-conditioned public coaches, boat, or even tuk tuk!
- A knowledgeable Tour Leader will guide the trip and can book your accommodation and activities as you go
- Yangon city tour, including Shwedagon Pagoda, Sule Pagoda, the street markets and the historic Bogyoke Aung San Market
- Half day guided temple tour of Bagan monuments
- 2 Day trek to remote hill-tribes between Kalaw and Inle Lake
- Remote Village Stay and meals: 1 breakfast, 1 lunch, 1 dinner
- Long tail boat trip on Inle Lake, including a visit to a floating farm, lotus weaving centre and stilt monastery
- Mandalay city tour, including Royal Palace, gold pounders workshop, the Shewnandaw Kyuang Monastery and Kuthodaw Pagoda
- Breakfast at all stops
- Entry fees into temples, pagodas and site fees for Bagan and Inle Lake are not included on these tours because fees change frequently and without notice; so it is better to pay directly on the day
- Accommodation is not included in the travel pass. Your Tour Leader can book accommodation in comfortable mid-range guesthouses and hotels on your behalf on a pay-as-you-go basis (rates range from $15-35 USD).
High season: November - March
Stray operates 1 departure per week on Saturdays with a 'hop-on hop-off' facility enabling passengers the flexibility to hop-off and spend more time in regions of interest, joining the next guided group one week later.
Low season: April - October
During 'low season' the Pagoda departs once a month and the hop-on hop-off facility is not available. During this time the Pagoda Pass is operated as a fixed 10 day guided travel pass that starts in Yangon and finishes in Mandalay.
Subject to minimum numbers (3 people).
Review Stray's terms and conditions and note the Pagoda Pass variations from standard T&Cs
|Myanmar Travel Guide
Start planning your adventure!
Get your trip off to a hassle free start with airport transfers and 2 nights’ accommodation.
Citizens of 100 countries are now eligible to apply online for a Tourist eVisa prior to arrival in Myanmar.
Myanmar is the newest must-visit destination on the Southeast Asia backpacker trail and for good reason!
Please Note: During low season (April - Oct) we operate 1 departure per month, therefore the travel pass must be traveled according to the recommended 10 day itinerary. This allows plenty of time to explore points of interest along the way.
HOW IT WORKS
Accommodation is not included with your travel pass, giving you the flexibility to stay where you like. Stray will reserve a bed for you at our preferred accommodation in each destination. If you would like to stay at the Stray preferred accommodation, just let your driver know, and pay on arrival. The option of a shared or private room is usually available.
There are some activities included with your trip but you might want to do some extra activities too! Your Tour Leader will be able to recommend activities at each destination and you can book these through your Tour Leader and pay directly to the operator.
Mingalabar (hello) and welcome to Myanmar, Southeast Asia’s largest mainland country. Arriving in the bustling city of Yangon, prepare for an intriguing mix of British colonial history and tastes from neighbouring India that distinguishes Myanmar from other Southeast Asian countries. Take some time to soak up these multicultural influences by wandering the markets and buzzing street life before meeting your Tour Leader in the early evening. Tonight you will meet your ‘travel buddies’ at 6pm at Royal 74 Hotel, in the lobby and prepare for the journey ahead, before heading out to local hot spot, 19th Street, to sample some tasty Burmese street food washed down with a nice cold Myanmar Beer at one of the many popular beer stations.
Meet at 8:00am in the lobby of Royal 74 Hotel to head out with your Tour Leader and a local guide to check out the highlights of downtown Yangon by foot. You’ll see the magnificent Shwedagon Pagoda, the most sacred Buddhist pagoda in Myanmar whose golden spire dominates the city skyline, and glittering Sule Pagoda, the holiest traffic island in the world. Finish off with a stroll through the endless stalls and alleyways of Bogyoke Aung San Market discovering new exotic treats. The afternoon is free to do as you please; if you’re a tea lover, you absolutely must visit a teahouse and try the tea leaf salad! Meet at the guesthouse at 7.30pm packed and ready to go for your first experience on a plush overnight coach journey to Bagan.
Arriving early in Bagan, we will drop our bags at the guesthouse and get right into exploring the mystical Bagan Archaeological Zone. With more than 3,000 temples across this sprawling site, Bagan is a temple lover’s dream destination. A guided temple tour will highlight some of the best known temples and share stories of their intriguing history and architecture, all before lunch! Either take some time out back at the guesthouse or park up at a local beer station, where you can usually find a local who is eager to practice their English.
Bagan temples nothing short of massive, so you need more than one day to really wander around all its wonders. Today you have a full free day to explore and we highly recommend hiring a bicycle or electric scooter to get around the town and surrounding area. Bagan is split into ‘Old Bagan’ (where you’ll be staying) and ‘New Bagan,’ about 15km apart, and you might enjoy cycling between the two, as well as taking a closer look at some of the temples and pagodas not seen on your guided tour. However you choose to spend your free day, don’t miss out on one of the world’s most spectacular sunrises or sunsets over this magnificent ancient capital.
It’s an early start this morning to catch the bus to Kalaw. Watch the scenery out your window change dramatically as we travel from the open plains to the picturesque mountains of the Shan Plateau and the quaint mountain town of Kalaw. You’ll immediately sense a difference in both the cooler climate of the mountains and the general vibe of Kalaw. As a Shan town, the ethnic influence is quite different from the Burmese you already experienced and may feel more like neighbouring China, Laos and Thailand. One of the best examples of this difference is in the fresh and delicious traditional Shan cuisine, which you’ll first taste this evening after stretching your legs getting to know this charming destination.
Soak up the native surroundings of Kalaw as we begin our trek into the Shan hills. Your guide will give you an overview of the regional ethnic groups as well as point out some of the diverse native plant and animal life along the way. On arrival into the village, get involved in preparing some traditional Shan dishes for lunch, with a helping hand from your hosts and guide. How you spend the afternoon depends on the time of year, season and what the villagers are working on the day you visit. Be prepared for anything and get as interactive as you like!
Non-trekking option: For those who are not able or interested in joining the trek, you will spend an additional night in Kalaw (where there is lots to explore) and travel by train to Inle Lake the next day to meet the trekkers in Nyuang Shwe. Your Tour Leader will travel with you and advise you of details, while a local guide will lead the trekkers.
Expect to wake up to a chorus of boisterous roosters at sunrise. Nothing epitomizes village life better than starting your day early and enjoying a traditional breakfast with your hosts. As push off again, heading towards Inle, your guide will shed further light on this fascinating rural area and the ways of its people. A brief boat ride on the lake you bring you to Nyuang Shwe, a small lakeside village that serves as the main access point to the popular destination of Inle Lake. After two hearty days of trekking, you’ll be happy to put your feet up, relax and reflect on your past two days with the Shan villagers. Nyuang Shwe offers an eclectic range of interesting culinary options so wonder the streets and find a treat yourself to a tasty meal of Shan, Nepalese, Indian, Chinese, or Burmese cuisine.
After breakfast we hop on our long tail boats to power through the towering reeds of the upper lake delta. Make the most of this half day tour that will take you to see floating farms held together by bamboo, a lotus weaving centre, and maybe even a floating stilt monastery. Inle Lake is a protected wetland sanctuary, so keep watch for a variety of native birds. While on the lake you will also learn how to fish like the Intha and try your luck at catching a fish or two. For lunch you can sample regional cuisine at a restaurant on the lake. The boat tour will finish around mid-afternoon, allowing time for an optional winery visit at the Red Mountain Winery.
Take in one last look over the tranquil Inle Lake before boarding the bus bound for Mandalay. There will be stops en route to stretch your legs and have lunch, but today is a day to beat the heat and relax on a comfortable bus as we transfer to our next destination. Arriving by late afternoon, there will be time to wander around the area near the guesthouse to orientate you in this incredible hub of Burmese culture and catch the sunset over the rolling Sagaing Hills.
Start your free day with a city tour in the morning that covers Mandalay’s highlights. You’ll visit the magnificent former Royal Palace, a gold pounder's workshop to learn the ancient method of making gold leaf, the intricate teak wood Shewnandaw Kyuang monastery and take a look at the ‘big book’ at the Kuthodaw Pagoda. As your city tour wraps up, this also signals the end of your Stray trip. If you have more time to spend in Mandalay, your Tour Leader will have plenty of recommendations and can help organise excursions to Mingun, Amarapura, Sagaing Hill or tickets to the world famous Moustache Brothers performance. Wherever you’re heading next, they’ll be able to help arrange your onward transfer.
|Yangon (Arrival - Group Meeting)||18:00|
Free Day: Yangon (overnight bus to Bagan)
|Yangon - Royal 74 Hotel (Depart)||20:00|
Free Day: Bagan
|Bagan (Free Day)||Free Day|
Bagan to Kalaw
|Bagan - Shwe Na Di GH (Depart)||07:00|
2 Day Trek - Kalaw to Village Stay
|Kalaw - Eastern Paradise Hotel (Depart)||08:00|
|Village Stay (Arrive)||17:00|
2 Day Trek - Village Stay to Inle Lake
|Village Stay (Depart)||08:00|
|Nyuang Shwe (Inle Lake) (Arrive)||16:00|
Free Day: Inle Lake
|Inle Lake (Free Day)||Free Day|
Inle Lake to Mandalay (Express Day)
|Nyuang Shwe (Inle Lake) - Sin Yaw GH (Depart)||09:00|
Free Day: Mandalay
|Mandalay (Free Day)||Free Day|
How it Works
The Pagoda pass is operated on a high quality, intercity public coach service in Myanmar, but you don't need to worry about a thing, your Tour Leader will organise your tickets for you and stay with you throughout the journey.
Your Tour Leader will lead you on a true adventure around our carefully thought out route, taking you to the iconic places Myanmar is famous for, as well as off-the-beaten-track for an authentic local experience.
HOW DO YOU HOP ON AND OFF THE BUS?
During high-season (November - March) you can ‘Hop off’ the bus anywhere along the route. Just let us know where you plan to hop off, and then when you're ready, you can hop back on with the next group. Departures are once a week, so the minimum time to hop off is one week but you can hop off for up to a year (if you are volunteering somewhere, this could be a good option!).
To hop back on, simply book your next travel date and pickup location through Stray Mate, our online Trip Manager.
The Pagoda Pass does not offer the ‘hop-on hop-off facility’ during low season (1 April - 31 Oct)
SHORT ON TIME?
You are not required to hop off at all and you can complete the tour in 10 Days and stay with your original group and Tour Leader.
WHAT ABOUT ACCOMMODATION?
Accommodation is not included with the Pagoda Pass, so you pay for your accommodation as you go. We will always reserve a bed for you at our Stray preferred accommodation but it is up to you whether you would like to take this option or book your own. Simply confirm with your Tour Leader each day and pay on arrival. It's that easy.
If you choose to hop-off it is your responsibility to book those extra nights.
WHAT ACTIVITIES CAN I DO?
We are all about ensuring you have the best possible experience so many of the awesome activities in Myanmar are included with the Pagoda Pass. Check out the 'What's Included' section on the highlights page. If you want to do any additional activities, just ask your Tour Leader to book them for you or point you in the right direction. You can pay the operator on arrival.