DAY 1: YANGON ARRIVAL (-/-/-)
Once arrive to the Yangon International Airport you will be warmly welcomed by our local guide for your transfer to your hotel in the city. Yangon the colonial city otherwise known as South East Asia Garden City is dizzying combination of old and new: modern business buildings, historical and cultural heritage of centaury old golden shimmering pagodas, its impressive age old colonial mansions sit side-by-side bustling restaurant and bars. Check in to your hotel. Then you will start your excursion to Sule Pagoda the excellent landmark of Yangon and leisurely walk along the streets lined with the British Colonial era buildings passing through the Mahabandoola Park. From here set off to Bogyoke Aung San Market, this sprawling over 80 years old market has the largest selection of Myanmar traditional handicrafts, cotton, silk, jewellery and all kind of souvenirs you will find under several roofs. You will also take a short visit to 70 metre-long Chaukhtetgyi Reclining Buddha worth for a great insight into Buddhism. End your day with a visit to the 2,500 years old Shwedagon Pagoda, the highlight of any trip to Myanmar perhaps one of the most beautiful pagoda complex in Asia. From there you will be escorted back to your hotel for overnight stay.
DAY 2: YANGON – GOLDEN ROCK (B/-/-)
This morning, our station guide and driver will meet you at the hotel for 5 hour drive to Kyaiktiyo. Kyaiktiyo is one of the most interesting and the third most sacred Buddhist shrine in Myanmar behind Shwedagon Pagoda in Yangon and the Mahamuni Buddha in Mandalay. About 20 km from the little town of Kyaikhto, which is midway between Bago and Thaton, the Golden Rock, a boulder covered in gold, is balanced precariously on the very edge of a cliff. Upon arrival of Kinpun base camp, take a mountain open hill truck to get to the Pagoda. This one hour drive to mountain offers fascinating view along the winding path and surrounding. Visit the pagoda and there are amazing sunsets and sunrises to see and the huge rock shows its most beautiful colour at dawn and dusk, while the pilgrims light candles and meditate all through the night. Your overnight stay will be spent near Golden Rock.
DAY 3: GOLDEN ROCK – BAGO – YANGON (B/-/-)
After breakfast, begin the return journey back to Yangon en route, stop in Bago, the capital of the 6th century Mon kingdom. Your visit in Bago begins at Shwethalyaung Temple which houses a beautiful 55-meter long reclining Buddha and it is reported to be one of the most lifelike of all reclining Buddhas. Continue to the Mon-style Shwemawdaw Pagoda, one of the most venerated in Myanmar and whose 114 meter spire is taller than the one at Shwedagon Pagoda. Before departing Bago, visit the well-restored former palace, Kambozathadi which was the marvel of Asia when it was originally built in the 16th century. On the way back to Yangon, stop at the Allied War Cemetery in Htauk Kyant. This memorial cemetery was built in 1,951 and the final resting place for over 27,000 allied soldiers who died in the Myanmar Campaign during World War II. From there it is back to your hotel for overnight stay in Yangon.
DAY 4: YANGON & MANDALAY (B/-/-)
After breakfast at your hotel, you will be brought to airport for flight to Mandalay. Once arrival you will be greeted by our local guide and depart for full day sightseeing around the city. Morning visit to Mahamuni Pagoda, one of the most revered Buddha Images in the country. This four meter high image is cast in bronze, but over the years it has been covered with a thick layer of gold leafs. From here continue to explore the traditional crafts workshops in the city such as marble carving, wood carving, tapestry embracement and gold leaf making. Proceed to Shwe Nan Daw Kyaung; this Golden Palace Monastery is a fragile reminder of the old Mandalay Fort which is decorated with exquisite wood carvings and the interior walls are gilded past-life stories of Buddha. And you will visit Kuthodaw Pagoda, the 729 marble slabs surrounding this pagoda are inscribed with the entire Tripitaka, earning this pagoda the moniker of “the world’s biggest book”. A nice ending of the hot day, you are going to spend a few hours at Mandalay Hill to enjoy the panoramic view of the city and surroundings in the final hours of its sunset.
DAY 5: ANCIENT CITIES – AMARAPURA, AVA, SAGAING (B/-/-)
Set off full day excursion to the ancient capitals of Amarapura, Ava and Sagaing around Mandalay. First visit Mahagandayon Monastery in Amarapura, a typical place to witness over thousand monks attending the daily meal at the country's largest monastery. After touring this site you will continue to visit a silk weaving workshop. Observe the fascinating weaving process of colourful silk by skilful weavers work on old looms in the traditional way. Continue your visit to Ava, the capital between the 14th and 18th centuries, where a short ferry ride will take visitors across the river to an awaiting horse and carriage. Explore the centuries old wooden Bagaya Monastery and the remains of the Royal Palace and Fort. In the afternoon, cross the bridge over the Irrawaddy River and continue to Sagaing. Covered with 600 white-painted pagodas and monasteries, Sagaing Hills is widely regarded as the religious centre of Myanmar and is home to 3,000 Monks and 100 Meditation Centres which forms the hilly landscape. Visit Soon U Ponya Shin Pagoda, Umin Thonezeh Pagoda and the 17th century old Kaung Hmu Daw Pagoda. End of the day you will be driven back to Amarapura to enjoy sunset over the 200 year-old U Bein Bridge, the longest teakwood bridge in the world. Your overnight stay will be spent in Mandalay.
DAY 6: MANDALAY – MONYWA (B/-/-)
In this morning, you will drive by car to Monywa; a city in central Myanmar (approximately three hours) for today sightseeing. Monywa is a lovely town, situated on the eastern bank of the Chindwin River and a major trade centre for agricultural products from the surrounding Chindwin Valley.Upon arrival, visit to the magnificent Thanboddhay pagoda complex, with 7,350 statues and almost 600,000 sacred images of the Buddha, as well as the world`s highest standing Buddha. This colossal figure measures approximately 130 meters in height and is hollow inside. About two hours driving time from Monywa, you will find the impressive sandstone caves of Phowintaung. Depending on our time, we can either visit these caves today or tomorrow. Stay overnight in Monywa.
DAY 7: MONYWA – PAKOKKU – BAGAN (B/-/-)
Continue four hour drive to Pakkoku for your boat trip to Bagan. Pakokku is located on the bank of Irrawaddy River and the town itself is quite and best known for Burmese Tobacco and Thanakha trading. Short visits include Thanakha market and slipper making workshop in the town. Then drive to Pakokku jetty, on-board to our private boat the cruise downwards the famous Irrawaddy River will take approximately two hours. On the way, enjoy the scenic view of charming rural villages, which are examples of a typical river community. You will also pass the confluence of the Irrawaddy and the Chindwin River. Upon arrival of Bagan, escort you to the hotel and the rest of the day is on leisure and relaxation. Stay overnight in Bagan.
DAY 8: BAGAN (B/-/-)
This morning, our station guide will collect you for full day sightseeing in Bagan. This deserted ancient city alongside the Irrawaddy River was once the capital of Myanmar from 11th to 13th centuries. Home to over 2,000 temples and pagodas, and by far its largest attraction, is one of the most remarkable archaeological sites in Asia and represents the spiritual heritage of ancient Burma.
Begin your journey with a visit to colourful Nyaung U Market where every day the locals come to buy and sell fresh produce and other goods.Â From here you will visit the most famous pagoda in Bagan the Shwezigone. The stupa is a graceful bell shape became the prototype for Myanmar's pagodas. Today excursion also includes the significant sights of this ancient city such as Kyanzittha Umin with unique wall paintings of 13th century of Mongolian, Gu-Byauk-Gyi Temple that features amazingly fine frescos showing scenes of Buddha`s life.
Explore the Htilo-Minlo Temple which is famous for its traces of old murals, original fine plaster carvings and glazed sandstone decorations. Morning visit concludes with Ananda Temple, one of the finest, largest and best preserved temple and Thatbyinnyu Temple, the highest building in Bagan.
After lunch break, the return to your hotel for some refreshment and relaxation. Resume afternoon visit to Dhammayangyi Pahto and Sulamuni Pahto. The former one is famous for its massive-walled temple and the later one is known for the last finest architecture of 12 century temple styles. Evening visit also includes traditional lacquer-ware workshops in Myinkaba village as for Myanmar’s contemporary arts and crafts. End of the day enjoy sunset at Pyatthatgyi Paya or one atop of Bagan's temple. With a transfer back to your hotel for overnight stay.
DAY 9: BAGAN – POPA – BAGAN (B/-/-)
Optional Activity: Ballooning Over Bagan A truly unique and unforgettable experience of a breath-taking ride in a hot-air-balloon over the ancient city of Bagan during sunrise! You will be astounded and amazed by the beauty and diversity of the temples and stupas below you. From a hot air balloon drifting over the ancient temples and pagodas you will be amazed by the most beautiful sunrise. As the ride is optional, don’t forget to book it the previous day. Further sightseeing of Bagan, you will drive off together to Mount Popa, the flower mountain. A little oasis, Mount Popa is the home of the most powerful Nats (sacred spirits) and offers an entrancing view across the plains of upper Myanmar. 777 steep stairs lead up to high peak of its extinct volcanic vent (Taungkalat) with pagodas and small temples perched at the summit (the climb is optional!). After sightseeing around Popa, you will head back to Bagan plain with beautiful sceneries. En route visit Shwe Hlaing Village, located just outside of Bagan on the way to or from Mount Popa, this rural village makes its living by producing various items from the toddy palm trees. You will have some time to walk around the village and observe how to make Myanmar's Candy and liquor at toddy climber's hut. It is then back to your Bagan hotel for overnight stay.
DAY 10: BAGAN – INLE LAKE (B/-/-)
Enjoy breakfast at hotel then it is time check out from hotel and transfer to airport for your flight to Heho. Once arrival take a scenic drive to Nyaung Shwe at the Inle Lake. On the way visit red-painted wooden monastery Shwe Yan Pyay; was built in early 19th century. Interesting architectural features are the oval windows, mosaics and the golden ornaments artwork. A great place for taking pictures! On board to private boat and be ferried around the lake for full day sightseeing of Myanmar's most spectacular sights. The lake is surrounded by high plateaus and overlooked by the misty Shan mountains you will have chance to observe unique one-leg rowing of Intha People who have adapted their environment by building bamboo stilt houses on the shallow waters. First you are going to visit the holy Phaung Daw Oo Pagoda. This complex is the holiest religious site in the southern area of the Shan State. It hosts five gold-leaf-covered statues; the gold leaf on the figures has become so thick that the images have become almost unrecognizable. There are also varieties of traditional workshops dotted around Inle Lake among them you will also be invited to explore gold and silver smithing at Ywama village, silk, cotton weaving workshop at In Paw Khone village, boat making workshop and Burmese cheroot making factory at Nam Pan village. After then, you will be transferred to hotel with lovely sunset upon the Lake. Your overnight stay will be spent in Inle Lake.
DAY 11: INDEIN – KAUNG DAING (B/-/-)
After breakfast, you will sail off to enjoy the morning Five-Day-Market in the lake. These bustling markets around Inle Lake are mostly of interest for the variety of different products offered, mainly grown on the floating gardens. The market rotates between different villages over five days. Next stop, you will be ferried from the middle of the lake; continue down a small canal leading to the village of Indein. Indein is located half way along the western side of the lake and is very interesting due to its 1,094 stupas surrounding the main pagoda, the Indein Pagoda. This pagoda is the original home of the five famous Buddha images of Inle Lake. Explore the area on foot, strolling around the village, visiting a local school, and wander through ancient pagodas. Next on the list, you are going to visit Kaung Daing village which is famous for its natural hot springs and traditional home made snacks of rice and tofu. After walking around the village of lake side you will head back to Inle Lake the rest of the day is for your relaxation.
DAY 12: INLE LAKE – PINDAYA – YANGON (B/-/-)
After breakfast at hotel it's time to check out from hotel for your next visit to Pindaya. The scenic drive will take you through deeply farmed areas and groups of toiling farmers in their traditional dress along the way. Start your first visit to Pindaya Caves. These sacred cave complex features over 8,000 Buddha images made from alabaster, teak, marble, brick, lacquer and cement. The caves burrow into a limestone ridge overlooking Pindaya and surrounding areas. Explore Shan paper and umbrella making workshop, a chance a detailed look at the making of the famous Shan paper and beautiful Burmese umbrellas. Then take a short walk around the picturesque Pone Ta Loke Lake. From here you will drive directly to airport for your flight back to the garden city Yangon. Your overnight stay will be spent in Yangon.
DAY 13: YANGON DEPARTURE (B/-/-)
This may be the end of your beautiful journey but you will still have time to explore the garden city on your own. It time to say goodbye and you will be then transferred to the airport for your departure flight to home.