Day 1: Yangon
Mingalabar and welcome to Yangon! The former capital Yangon, also known as Rangoon remains Myanmar’s largest city and continues to be the country’s most important commercial hub and gateway for most of its international visitors. Its colonial background and religious legacy make it one of the most mesmerising and genuine places in all of Southeast Asia. You will be met by your guide and driver and transferred to your hotel for check-in. Enjoy your afternoon and evening at leisure. Overnight Yangon.
Day 2: Yangon City Tour
This morning you will be taken downtown to start your tour on Mahanbandola Road where the Immanuel Baptist Church, originally built in 1830 is located. Visit grand buildings, pagodas, and streets lined with second-hand book sellers, food stalls, gold shops, fortune tellers, and the influences of Indian and Chinese settlers as well as one of Yangon’s most colourful Hindu Temples. See the 70mt long reclining Buddha statue at the Kyaukhtatgyi Pagoda, and experience the ‘quintessentially Burmese” custom of a visit to a tea shop to share this staple of Burmese living. Finish our tour with a visit to the legendary Shwedagon Pagoda. Your guide will explain the significance of the monks robes, alms bowls, incence and other unique Buddhist objects as you browse the stalls at the entrance to the Pagoda, then continue up the stairs to the main platform to view the 100mt Chedi which is literally enclosed in over 40 tonnes of gold leaf. Evening at leisure in your hotel. Overnight Yangon. (B)
Day 3: Yangon – Mandalay
An early morning transfer for your flight to Mandalay. On arrival at Mandalay airport you will be met by your guide and driver to begin the day with an expedition to Kyauktawgyi Pagoda, know as the pagoda of the Great Marble Image. Admire the huge Buddha, carved from a single block of marble. Proceed to the Kuthowdaw Pagoda, frequently dubbed “The World’s Biggest Book” for its collection of 729 marble slabs inscribed with Buddhist teachings.
After a little break for lunch and to check into your hotel, this afternoon’s tour begins with a visit to Amarapura, Myanmar’s penultimate royal capital. First stop is at a silk-weaving workshop known for their exquisite merchandise, then on to Mahagandayon monastery, home to more than 1000 young monks and renowned as a centre for monastic study and strict religious discipline. Once the sun begins to set, you’ll want to stroll along the legendary U Bein Bridge which was built in 1782. Enjoy this very special atmosphere as the late afternoon sun casts long shadows and illuminates the local people heading home. Head back to your Mandalay hotel and enjoy your evening at leisure. Overnight Mandalay (B)
Day 4: Mandalay – Sagaing – Mandalay
In the morning, cross the Irrawaddy River to Sagaing. With 600 ivory coloured pagodas and monasteries, Sagaing Hill is generally seen as the spiritual hub of Myanmar and claims residence to around 3000 monks and nearly 100 meditation shrines. You will visit pagodas such as Swan Oo Pon Nya Shin, U Min Thone Sae, and Shin Pin Nan Gyaing, before heading to a small pottery village where tradesmen apply traditional methods of producing ubiquitous water pots.
Return back across the river to the city centre at noon and to your hotel. The rest of today is free to explore at your leisure. Overnight Mandalay. (B)
Day 5: Mandalay – Bagan
After breakfast at your hotel, your driver will pick you up from your hotel and transfer you to the airport for your flight to Bagan. On arrival at Bagan airprot you will be met by your new guide and driver to start your Bagan excursion. Not simply a chance to see the splendid Bagan temples, this excursion also introduces you to the Burmese culture. First port of call is an elevated temple with its panoramic views of the Bagan plains. This viewpoint will give you a taste of the sheer number of temples as well as some of their distinctive styles. From here you will look around the Ananda Temple, ensuring that our tour arrives here before the majority of tourists arrive, so you can enjoy the splendour of the temple in relative tranquility. Experience various other temples dotted around the plains and experience a variety of architectual styles in the area as well as the artistic wonder of the 9-14th centuries. Travelling amid the temples you will get a taste of rural Bagan life in this ‘living museum’ setting where farmers and families work amongst the monuments.
This afternoon you will proceed to the jetty where a private wooden river boat awaits you. Sitting either under the shade or on the open deck you will be treated to fabulous views as you cruise down the Irrawaddy river. Cruise past several small villages, fishermen, local boats, and of course, many more temples. As the sun begins to slowly sink from view, you will prepare to disembark before being driven back to your hotel for the evening. Overnight Bagan. (B)
Day 6: Bagan Biking Tour and Villages
Start your biking day with a visit to the most noteworthy pagodas and temples in Bagan. Pedal with your bicycle from your hotel to the vibrant Nyaung Oo Market, where the locals come to trade fresh produce and other goods daily. Proceed to Old Bagan and visit the renowned Shwezigon Pagoda, constructed by King Anawrahta in the early 11th century as a religious memorial. Bike towards Ku Byauk Gyi, a temple with wonderful murals of Jataka scenes, Bu Lei Thee Pagoda celebrated for its all-encompassing view of the region’s various monuments. Head back to your hotel for a midday break or rest at a local restaurant.
In the afternoon continue your bike tour until you’ll reach the settlement of Myinkaba village where you will have the chance to examine the village itself as well as the local craftsmen. Learn more about the local culture with a visit to two workshops producing Bagan’s most famous products: lacquer ware and wood crafts. Watch as the skilled craftsmen use techniques passed down through generations to create beautiful items. You’ll also visit the Gu Byaukgyi Temple with its beautiful frescos before a chance to see Manuha Temple (constructed in 1059!). Investigate Nanbaya Temple, one of the oldest temples in the region. Nanpaya is reputed to have been built in the eleventh century by the Mon King Manuha and has several Buddha images. Your next stop is scheduled to be the Myazedi (Jade) Stupa a pace of worship for Buddhist due to the relics held within. Here you can see the twelfth century inscriptions written in Burmese, Pyu, Pali and Mon, giving rise to the stupa’s sometime nickname of ‘Myanmar’s Rosetta Stone’. The final stop of the tour will be a chance for you to look around the Bamar temple at Sulamani with its marvellous seated Buddha images. If time and weather allows enjoy an unforgettable sunset over the plains from the upper terrace of a surrounding temple. Lunch and Dinner on own account. Overnight Bagan. (B)
Day 7: Bagan Free Day
Today is free at your own leisure. No guide and no car for this day. Overnight Bagan. (B)
Option 1: SUNRISE BREAKFAST AND HORSE CART RIDE (Additional $ suppliment – group 2 persons)
Option 2: COOKING CLASS WITH A LOCAL AT HOME – BAGAN – (Additional $ suppliment per person -group of 2 person)
Day 8: Bagan – Heho – Nyang Shwe Sightseeing – Inle Lake
Enjoy your breakfast at the hotel and then transfer with guide to the airport for your flight to Heho, in the heart of the Shan State. From Heho, you will experience a lovely scenic one-hour drive (32km – 1 hour) which leads to Nyaung Shwe, gateway village to Inle Lake. Although located adjacent to Inle Lake, few travellers take the time to visit this charming Shan town. Get on a local trishaw down to the bustling canal which is a hive of activity in the morning as boats from the lake come in to unload tomatoes and other vegetables for distribution to the markets around the country. Watch as baskets laden with produce are transferred from boats to trucks and bikes. Hop back on the trishaw and wind through quiet streets. Make a stop at the ‘tomato house’, a warehouse-like structure where the tomatoes are sorted and priced for sale. Then continue past some of the many monasteries and nunneries in the town, stopping for photos as you go. Then you will be transferred by boat to the hotel on Inle Lake for check in. Meals on your own. Overnight Inle Lake (B)
Day 9: Inle Lake Sightseeing
After breakfast you will board your wooden motorized boat and begin heading out onto Inle Lake, one of Myanmar’s most spectacular and breathtaking sights. Its calm waters are dotted with floating vegetation and fishing canoes, to which scenic hills provide the perfect backdrop. Pay a visit to the lake’s morning market (the market is open every day apart from dark moon and full moon calendar days). The market’s location rotates between the lake’s villages in a 5 day schedule and is also visited daily by the lake’s inhabitants as well as the surrounding natives who also come to sell and trade their wares. Along the way you will pass several villages that are built on stilts over the lake, which are inhabited by the local Intha people. Observe the daily activities of the local leg-rowing fishermen and see their ‘floating gardens’, which are built up from strips of water hyacinth, earth and anchored to the bottom of the lake with bamboo poles. You will also visit Nga Hpe Chaung Monastery, which houses loads of early Shan Buddha Images. In the past this temple was known for its ‘jumping cats’ but these days there are only a few felines roaming around and none are jumping any more. Yet the Buddha images are still worth the visit. Proceed to the Phaung Daw Oo Pagoda, the lake’s main haven, which contains five sacred images of Buddha decorated in gold leaf. There are also many traditional crafts origininating on Inle Lake and, should you wish, we can stop for a visit to one making incredible woven items from lotus silk, boat builders (depending on the time of year), a cigar making workshop, blacksmiths or even silver smiths. If time allows you will also pay a visit to the local silversmith and a pirogue workshop in the village of Nampan. The day will come to a close with a return trip by boat back to your hotel. Lunch and Dinner on own account. Overnight stay on Inle Lake. (B)
Day 10: Inle Lake Free Day
Today is free at your own leisure. No guide or transfer for this day. Meals on your own. Overnight at the hotel. (B)
Option 1: Inle Lake – Maing Tauk – Inle Lake (Additional $ suppliment – group 2 persons)
Option 2: Inle Lake – Indein – Inle Lake (Additional $ suppliment – group 2 persons)
Option 3: Kayaking on Inle Lake (Additional $ suppliment – group 2 persons)
Option 4: Serene Sunrise on Inle Lake (Additional $ suppliment – group 2 persons)
Option 5: Shan Picnic (Lunch) In the Bamboo Forest (Indein) (Additional $ suppliment – group 2 persons)
Day 11: Inle Lake – Heho – Yangon
After your breakfast you will be transferred with your guide to Heho airport for your flight to Yangon. Be met by your driver in Yangon airport, you will check in the hotel for your room. The balance of the day is free at your own leisure. Meals on your own, overnight at the hotel. (B)
Day 12: Yangon departure
Today you will be transferred to Yangon airport for your onward flights Your room in Yangon will be available until noon time. (B)
- Accommodation in superior standard hotels (twin share) with breakfast daily.
- Domestic Flights as per itinerary
- Activities and sightseeing as mentioned in the itinerary
- English speaking local guides
- Ground transportation with a/c vehicle (where available) and drivers
- Entrance fees for visits mentioned in the program (except camera fees)
- 1 Bottle of water per person per day