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Back to Nature in Myanmar

Exploring the nature of Myanmar in the remote area around Inle Lake & the magnificent Mergui Archipelago. Leave the tourist trail behind and discover an authentic corner of Inle Lake. Journey past spectacular scenery on the way to Inle’s far southern reaches. Step ashore to find villages untouched by time, see traditional ways of life and explore the awe-inspiring ‘sunken’ stupas of Sagar. Travel further south on to a remote island in the middle of the Andaman Sea’s Mergui Archipelago. Travel by slow boat to the forested getaway where fantastic coral reefs and sustainably constructed lodges bring guests ‘back to nature’. Lounge on the white sand beaches around the island, or choose to be more active with forest walks, snorkeling, and kayaking on offer.


Various activities on sites

  • Cruise the giant Inle Lake and exploring the remote surrounding area.
  • Visiting the various hidden villages and learn about its colorful culture & tradition
  • Spend time relaxing and exploring the undiscovered Boulder Island.
  • Learn about all the efforts behind conserving the beautiful marine environment .

Unforgettable moments

  • Admiring the local Intha fishermen at work whilst cruising the giant Inle Lake
  • Admiring the colorful local tribes living in the remote area of Loikaw and surrounding area
  • Staying up closed and feeling the breath of our giant elephant friends.
  • Explore the wonderful remote Island of Mergui Archipelago

Nature exploration

  • Explore the amazing Inle Lake and the surrounding area with vibrant life of local people
  • Explore the remote area of Loikaw, Kalaw, and the evergreen nature.
  • Fade into the true beauty of the Mergui Archipelago 
  • Walking trails through the forest and exceptional snorkeling

Culture experience

  • Immerse yourselves into the culture & tradition of Yangon with the effect of western culture wave
  • The colorful culture and tradition of tribe people living in Loikaw, Kalaw, and Inle Lake
  • Experience the friendly culture of local people living in Mergui Archipelago


Detailed schedule

Day 1 - Welcome to Yangon

Upon arrival at Yangon International Airport, picked-up and transferred to your hotel in town by our Sonasia Holiday’s guide.

Though no longer the capital, Yangon remains Myanmar’s commercial heart and also the core of its spiritual life, thanks to the glorious Shwedagon Paya (Pagoda), while its colonial-era buildings (decaying as many of them may be) give the downtown area a historical charm which new capital Nay Pyi Taw - and Mandalay for that matter - will never possess. Whether you get lost in the city’s animated markets, seek out beer and barbecue in Chinatown, visit Hindu temples or take an eye-opening ride on a commuter train, Yangon’s streets provide a vibrant and engaging introduction to the country.

After a soft rest, head to the heart of downtown, where East meets West with a mix of pagodas, monuments and colonial buildings.  Walk around Sule Pagoda, City Hall, Victory Monument and some of the nearby colonial buildings. Take in the Colonial charm of the city that was once the capital of British Burma.

After seeing the sights, take a food safari through downtown by local open-air trishaw and experience the culinary delights of Myanmar’s most bustling city. The tour begins at a local tea shop where guests enjoy Burmese tea and a taste of the city’s traditional culture. The tradition of drinking strong tea with condensed milk and sugar was brought to Myanmar by the British more than a century ago.

However, people still drink green tea, which is complimentary in most of the local tea shops, to wash away the sweet flavor. The tea shop visited today is popular with locals and serves a variety of traditional Burmese snacks and noodles, all of which can be sampled. Some of the famous dishes are mont pyar tha let (rice pancake), mont leit pyar (wanton-like parcels of bean and jaggery), shwe htamin (golden sticky rice), mohingar (rice noodles with fish soup - Myanmar’s national dish) and own noe khauk swe (yellow noodles with chicken and coconut soup).

Trishaws will be waiting outside to continue the evening journey. Everyone gets their own trishaw and local driver. Take a short ride through the downtown area and head past St Mary’s Church and the former Minister’s Office. Once known as the Secretariat, this beautiful red brick building was built by the British in the late 1800s and takes up an entire city block. Famous as the location where national hero General Aung Sang was assassinated in 1947, the inside of the building has been closed to the public for over 50 years.

After about a 15 minute ride, head down a small alley off the main road to get to one of the most famous noodle shops in Yangon, 999 Shan Noodle. It is possible to pick from a variety of dishes, though the restaurant is popular for its Shan noodles. Typically eaten for breakfast, Shan noodles can be had as a soup or salad and are fantastic any time of day.

From here, go on foot through the heart of downtown, past landmarks like Mahabandoola Park, city hall, and Sule Pagoda, each lit up like a beacon in the middle of town. This short stroll should work up an appetite for next stop, a local Indian restaurant. During British rule, Yangon was populated with more Indians than Burmese. Many of their descendants still live here today with their influence being seen on the local dishes. Try some of the Indian-influenced snacks that are still popular with Burmese people.

From here, it’s back on the trishaws. Take a ride through Little India, with its colorful temples and make one last stop at Chinatown. Continue through a bustling night market before heading to 19th street. Famous for its barbeques, 19th street is a lively place to enjoy meat and vegetable satays, washed down with draught Myanmar Beer.

Transfer back to the hotel. Overnight in Yangon

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Day 2 - Yangon // Heho - Kalaw

This morning, transfer to the airport for a flight to Heho in the Shan State. From Heho, take a two- hour drive to Green Hill Valley Elephant Camp in Magwe Village. Upon arrival, a guide from the Green Hill will show the way to the main camp. Enjoy a welcome drink while receiving a briefing on the day’s activities, the background of the camp and the history of elephants in Myanmar.

Following this, embark on a short walk to the river, passing through a reforestation project set up by the camp and villagers. Be greeted by the elephants – the guide will explain their name, age, and how they ended up retiring at the camp. Trays of bananas and sugarcane will be brought out and some time will be enjoyed feeding the elephants. Afterwards, get dressed in traditional Shan garments to prepare for bathing the elephants. Walk to a natural pool, located between two small falls in the stream, and join the elephants for a bath. 

OPTION FOR SHORT TREK: This morning, transfer from Kalaw to the Wet Pyu Ye Junction where a guide from the Green Hill Valley Elephant camp will be waiting. Embark on a walk to the camp. The walk is mostly downhill and passes through a variety of forest types - teak, bamboo, etc - which is home to a variety of flora and fauna.  After 45-90 minutes of walking, encounter the camp’s elephants. The elephants will likely be enjoying a refreshing swim in the stream. Join the mahouts to bathe these gentle animals. Enjoy refreshments here or by a waterfall.

Return to the reforestation area to plant a tree before heading to the main camp for lunch. There is time in the afternoon to explore more on foot with the local trekking guide or interact with the elephants.

In the late afternoon, say goodbye to the elephants and mahouts and transfer back to Kalaw.

Overnight in Kalaw


For the wellbeing of the animals, elephant riding is not allowed.

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Day 3 - Kalaw - Pindaya - Inle Lake

This morning the journey continues at 08:00.

Embark on a scenic drive through Shan State, first stopping at Pindaya before continuing on to Inle Lake. The route is stunning, and there will be time to stop for photos along the way.

Upon arrival, visit to the Pindaya Market, a typical rural market selling an array of food and dry goods.

Then, take a short drive east of Pindaya and, upon arrival, continue on foot to a small village. In the village, observe the daily activities of local people. If it is dry season it is possible to see the drying of cheroot leaves or weaving of cotton. In the rainy season, activities such as the weaving of wood or bamboo mats and making of brooms can be seen. This quaint village is filled with friendly locals and some curious kids offering a welcome to their town.

Next, continue to a local farm for an interactive cooking demonstration. Learn about the local ingredients used in some of the regional cuisine (Danu, Shan and Pa-Oh) and the techniques used to cook the tasty dishes of the Shan State. Have a chance to visit a small plantation where some herbs or other ingredients are being grown.

After cooking, sit down to enjoy a delicious lunch of freshly prepared dishes.

After lunch, head to the Pindaya Caves to explore this incredible complex. Then, transfer to Nyaung Shwe, the gateway to Inle Lake, and on to the hotel for a good night’s rest.

Overnight in Nyaung Shwe or Inle Lake

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Day 4 - Inle Lake - Exploration

Today the sightseeing begins at 08:00 and embark on a day trip around Inle Lake.

Start with a visit to the morning market, which rotates locations on a 5-day basis (note: there are no markets on full moon or dark moon days). This daily market attracts people from all over the lake’s shores who gather to buy and sell their wares. In one day it’s possible to see Pa-Oh, Inthar and Shan people all in their traditional outfits. Wander amid the stalls and listen to the guide’s explanation of local produce and goods that are sold there.

Then continue across the lake, passing through villages with stilted houses and floating gardens built up from strips of water hyacinth and mud and anchored to the bottom with bamboo poles. Along the way, see the famous leg-rowing fishermen who steer their boats with incredible balance.
Afterwards, head to Phaung Daw Oo Pagoda, the lake’s main sanctuary, which contains five sacred Buddha images and houses several royal barges used during the pagoda’s annual festival.

Proceed to the village of Inpawkhone to observe the traditional silk-weaving techniques of Inthar people. Inpawkhone is also known for weaving with the stems of lotus flowers, a time-consuming process that results in high quality materials famous throughout the country. Also visit a cheroot factory where local Burmese cigars are rolled by hand.

Next, stop at Inthar Heritage House to learn more about the history and culture of the lake’s indigenous people and enjoy a beautiful Shan lunch.

The afternoon will be at leisure. Continue sightseeing on the Lake, take a stroll through one of the lakeside villages, or return to the hotel to relax.

Overnight on Inle Lake

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Day 5 - Inle Lake - Sadar - Loikaw

Today the journey continues at 08:00.

Set off this morning for Sagar, the far southern region of Inle Lake. Very few tourists make the trip down to this region yet it is one of the most beautiful places in the Shan State, with the mountains forming a backdrop for the small villages and fishermen on the water.

The boat journey takes 2.5-3 hours but is full of fabulous views and glimpses of exotic species of birds. Sit back, relax, and enjoy the ride!

Upon arriving in Sagar there are several stops that will be made (the order will depend on the time, other tourist boats and activity in the villages). The main highlight for many travelers are the ‘sunken’ stupas of Sagar- 108 stupas from the 16-17th centuries that are partially underwater for a few months a year. There is also a local monastery and village that can be visited here.

Continue to the village of Thaya Gone, home to Pa-Oh, Shan and Inthar people and known for its production of local rice wine. Watch the process of distillation and then sample some of the local brew. In Thaya Gone there is also the chance to climb to the top of a small hill which provides great views of the lake and surrounding villages.

Another stop is made in Sae Khaung Pottery Village to see the crafting of oil and water pots as well as the natural, underground kilns used by the villagers. On the western shores of the Sagar area is Tar Kaung, a series of more than 200 stupas which also makes for a fabulous photo stop.

Lunch will be arranged along the way (either picnic lunch or local lunch at a small restaurant)
Around 14:30, the boat continues down the lake to the small town of Phe Khone. Here, transfer to a car for the final hour drive to Loikaw.

Loikaw, the capital of Kayah State, abounds with natural wonders, spellbinding tribes and unending wonders. Bisected by the Bilu River, Loikaw is blessed with rolling mountains, lakes, markets and hill tribes – the most famous being the Padaung or ‘long-neck’ ladies. The area was only recently opened to tourists in 2013, and is still very much off the beaten path.

On arrival check in to the hotel.

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Day 6 - Loikaw - Exploration

This morning the tour starts at 08:00.

If it is a market day, head about 30 minutes outside of Loikaw to the Demawso Market (Only open Mon, Wed, and Sat). This very local market attracts tribes from the surrounding area to sell their wares. Most interesting is the local khayung yai wine.

The local women line up with batches of homemade wine, each offering free samples to any interested customers. After deciding on a particularly tasty one, customers will make their purchase, filling up containers they brought from home. Quite often just an old water bottle, many are empty again before making the journey home.

Following the market, drive out to the countryside. From here, take an easy walk through local villages and farmland, with the mountains of Kayah state in the background. After an hour, reach Pan Phet village. Most of the inhabitants of Pan Phet are of the Padaung tribe. Locally referred to as “long neck ladies”, the Padaung women are famous for the many golden neck rings they wear.

Though the tradition is dying out, most women over 40 in the village can still be seen wearing these heavy accessories.  There will be a chance to interact with these ladies while strolling through the simple village. A few roadside stalls have opened to cater to tourists, here there will be it is possible to buy some locally sourced souvenirs and refreshments.

After leaving the village, take the hour return back to the car and head for a late lunch.

Return to Loikaw for an afternoon at leisure. Shortly before sunset, head into downtown Loikaw to visit the Taung Kwe Pagoda. Perched on a spectacular rock formation, this pagoda is Kayah State’s most famous sight. The rock formation itself is said to be the origin of the town’s name (‘loi kaw’ is Shan for ‘Island of mountains’). With great views of the surrounding area, the pagoda is the perfect spot to end the day.

Overnight in Loikaw.

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Day 7 - Loikaw // Yangon // Kawthaung

Today, we will take the flight from Loikaw back to Yangon and connect with another onward flight to Kawthaung in the southern Myanmar.

Upon arrival in Kawthaung, transfer to your hotel in town.

Free for the rest of the day to explore the town and the beaches on your own.

Overnight in Kawthaung

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Day 8 - Kawthaung - Boulder Bay Eco Resort

After breakfast at the hotel, transfer to Kawthaung Jetty.

We then depart from Kawthaung jetty towards Boulder Bay Eco Resort on Boulder Island.

Lunch will be served during the 6-hour cruise through the Andaman Sea. As the busy port area of mainland Myanmar fades into the distance the true beauty of the Mergui Archipelago surrounds the boat as it travels slowly over the calm waters on the way to Boulder Bay Eco Resort.

Arrive just in time to enjoy a welcome drink while watching the sunset from the community area which will be the location for all meals during the island stay. Then be escorted to your exotic Eco Bungalow in the most natural of settings behind Boulder Bay.

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Day 9 - Boulder Bay Eco Resort

After breakfast, spend the day at leisure to explore Boulder Island.

The main highlight is the marine life surrounding the main island and there are several stunning bays, all within 20-30 minutes walking distance of each other, to explore – Boulder Bay, Moken Bay, Bamboo Bay and Sisters Bay. A local guide is always present to lead the way through the forested walks and to point out the best spots for snorkeling in each of the bays. Vibrant coral reefs and colorful fish are present throughout.

For those that prefer to stay on top of the water rather than under it, sea kayaks are also available to explore the hidden bays around the island. As the sun begins to set the more adventurous can scramble up to Eagle Point for the best view, while others can walk just 5 minutes from the resort to another beautiful view point with great views over the boulders that give the island its name.

Overnight at Boulder Bay Eco Resort. 


ENVIRONMENTALLY RESPONSIBLE TRAVEL: Electricity for the entire resort is supplied from an on-site solar farm.

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Day 10 - Boulder Bay Eco Resort

Today is another day at your leisure to explore beautiful Boulder Island.

Not only is the island home to walking trails through the forest and exceptional snorkeling, it is also an Eco Resort that acts as a leading example of sustainable development in the Mergui Archipelago. An on-site marine biologist is able to take guests through the science of coral reef regeneration and what is being done by the resort to protect the precious nature surrounding the island.

Overnight at Boulder Bay Eco Resort. 


ECOLOGICALLY RESPONSIBLE: The resort fully funds a marine biologist on the island to lead important work to conserve the marine environment. 

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Day 11 - Boulder Island - Kawthaung - Yangon - Departure

Early this morning at 6am head directly from your Eco Bungalow to the boat for the leisurely cruise back to Kawthaung.

Breakfast will be served onboard during the six-hour ride as the sun rises over the remote islands of the Mergui Archipelago.

Upon arrival in Kawthaung transfer to the airport for a flight to Yangon to connect with another onward flight to the next destination or back home

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We believe you have the right to arm yourselves with as much information as possible before making any decision.

Check below our detailed tips & guide for every places to visit in Myanmar, recommendation regarding the inclusion in each theme you prefer, and what you can do based on the time frame you have.

bee-white Yangon

bee-white Bagan

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Inle Lake
bee-white Inle Lake

Mergui Archipelago
bee-white Mergui Archipelago

Ngapali Beach
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Check out all the must-see places and things to do & see

Luxury Holiday
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Unique experience combined with top-notch services

Wellness & Leisure
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Easy excursion combined with week-long beach break

Family Vacation
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The combination of fun and educational activities

bee-white Unseen

Reveal off-the-beatentrack routes, least explored destinations, and unknown tribe groups

Trek & Hike
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Explore the least visited destinations and unknown experience on foot

Cycling & Biking
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Explore every corners of the destination on two wheels

Honeymoon Vacation
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Easy excursions combined with unique experience making the long-lasting romantic memories

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The combination of some must-see experience and the cruise tour along the mighty rivers

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Either are you wondering about best time to visit, visa policy, or how to get the cheapest flight, we have your back!

WHAT MORE? Choose the country you plan to visit, then search for your nationality below to see our special travel tips & advice for your country. CONTACT US if you cannot find yours.

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Taking a cruise on the fascinating Mekong River offers a unique and memorable travel experience. The Mekong River, one of the longest rivers in Asia, flows through several countries, including China, Myanmar, Laos, Thailand, Cambodia, and Vietnam. Each destination along the river offers its own distinct cultural, historical, and natural attractions. In this article, we will go over what you can expect when cruising the Mekong River. 


Since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, Asian countries has taken the cautious approach to inbound travel and has had some of the strictest border restrictions and closures. At the moment, the nations of the region are in the beginning stages of reopening their borders for tourism, with every country introducing its own regulations.

The “unlocking” statuses vary widely. Travelers entering Asian countries may be required to do everything from going into quarantine, submitting negative COVID-19 test results, presenting proof of health insurance, and proof of vaccination (known a vaccine passports).

There is an understandable uncertainty with how you should travel to the Asian region if you are planning to. This is why we present you the list of 19 Asian countries, along with details on the current travel situation. As each country applies precisely defined regulations, you should always check the official websites listed in the article below for the latest government announcements.


Myanmar will resume international passenger flights from April 17, the military said on Saturday, lifting a two-year ban on foreign tourists.


Thanaka or  thanakha is a yellowish-white cosmetic paste made from ground bark. It is a distinctive feature of the culture of Myanmar, seen commonly applied to the face and sometimes the arms of women and girls, and is used to a lesser extent also by men and boys. The use of thanaka has also spread to neighboring countries including Thailand.

Within this article, we will learn everything about Thanaka and the benefits of its powder in making a secret beauty ingredient of Burmese women.


Burmese Longyi, along with the country’s longtime history, art, and heritage sites has contributed to the richness of the local culture that will grasp your attention whenever you find yourself in strolling around the streets of Myanmar. With just a piece of fabric grasping on the lower part of the body through time, the longyi has made it become an incredible pattern of Myanmar traditional costume for both men and women. In this article, we are going to find out the secret of Myanmar quintessence through Longyi, about why it has been worn for centuries by the Burmese people.

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