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Myanmar

Myanmar

Yangon 1 night
Bagan 3 nights
Mandalay 2 nights
Kalaw 1 nights
Inle Lake 2 nights
Yangon 1 night

DAY 1: YANGON

Arrival in Yangon
Transfer (1.5 Hours)
Sightseeing in Yangon

Yangon lies in the fertile delta of southern Myanmar, on the wide Yangon River. The city is filled with tree-shaded boulevards, while shimmering stupas float above the treetops. The city became the capital only in 1885, when the British completed the conquest of Upper Myanmar and Mandalay's brief period as capital of the last Burmese kingdom ended.

Visit Sule Pagoda (Sule Pagoda is now under renovation with scaffolding process and cover with mat until further notice. However, the pagoda is still possible to visit inside as usual) (30 Minutes)

Sule Pagoda is a 48 meter high golden dome used by the British as the nucleus of their grid development plan for the city when it was rebuilt in the 1880s. The pagoda's peculiarity is its octagonal-shaped stupa, which retains its shape as it tapers to the spire.

Visit National Museum

The National Museum hosts several interesting exhibits, especially the 8 meter high Sihasana Lion Throne, used by King Thibaw Min, the last Burmese king, and returned to Burma in 1908 by Lord Mountbatten. The main floor contains jewellery, old black and white photos of Mandalay Palace and Yangon, royal relics, Hintha opium weights and inscribed tablets.

Visit Shwedagon Pagoda at sunset (2-3 Hours)

The highlight of any trip to Yangon is a visit to the spectacular Shwedagon Pagoda, which dates back about 2500 years and was built to house eight sacred hairs of the Buddha. Its bell-shaped superstructure, resting on a terraced base, is covered in about 60 tonnes of gold-leaf, which is constantly being replaced.

Overnight in Yangon

Special note: Arrival should be in the morning./ Early check-in is excluded./ National Museum closed on Mondays and public holidays.

DAY 2: YANGON - BAGAN (B)

Transfer (1.5 Hours)
Flight from Yangon to Bagan
Transfer (5 kms)
Sightseeing in Bagan (6 Hours)

Bagan is a spectacular plain stretching away from the Ayeyarwaddy River, dotted with thousands of 800-year old temple ruins. Although human habitation at Bagan dates back almost to the beginning of the Christian era, Bagan only entered its golden period with the conquest of Thaton in 1057 Ad.

Shwezigon Paya: King Anawrahta started the construction of the Schwezigon Pagoda to enshrine some relicts of Buddha. The construction was finished by his successor, King Kyansittha between 1086 and1090. Originally the Shwezigon Pagoda marked the northern end of the city of Bagan. The stupa's graceful bell shape became a prototype for virtually all later stupas over Myanmar.

Gubyaukhyi Temple at Wetkyi-Inn: This Temple was built in the early 13th Century and repaired in 1468. The great colourful painting about the previous life of Buddha and the distinguished architecture make this temple an interesting site for a visit. This temple should not be confused with the Gubyaukgyi Temple near Myinkaba village.

AnanDa Pahto: one of the finest, largest, best preserved and most revered of the Bagan temples. Thought to have been built around 1105 by King Kyanzittha, this perfectly proportioned temple heralds the stylistic end of the Early Bagan period and the beginning of the Middle period.

Gubyaukgyi Temple at Myinkaba: Built in 1113 by Kyanzittha son Rajakumar, this temple is famous for its well-preserved Stuccos from the 12th century on the outside walls. The magnificent paintings date from the original construction of the temple and are considered to be the oldest original paintings in Bagan.

Manuha Temple: The Manuha Temple was built in 1059 by King Manuha, the King of Thaton, who was brought captive to Bagan by King Anawrahta. It enshrines the unusual combination of 3 seated and one reclining image Buddha. It is said that this temple was built by Manuha to express his displeasure about his captivity in Bagan.

Shwesandaw Paya: In 1057 King Anawrahta built this Pagoda following his conquest of Thaton. This is the first monument in Bagan, which features stairways leading up from the square bottom terraces to the round base of the Stupa.

Lacquerware Workshop: the villages around Bagan are known for producing the finest lacquerware in Myanmar. Stop by one of the workshops and learn about the painstaking process of lacquerware making and decoration.

Watch sunset over Bagan (45 Minutes)

Enjoy a panoramic view of the sun setting over the plain of Bagan from one of the pagoda platforms.

Overnight in Bagan

DAY 3: BAGAN (B)

Excursion to Mount Popa (3 Hours)

Visit Mount Popa, a cylindrical hill that rises sharply from the surrounding plain, and is considered to be the home of Myanmar's most important nats (spirits). Ascend the mountain via a winding covered staircase watched by the curious monkeys that populate the area. At the top is a monastery and temple complex with shrines to the 37 nats, along with spectacular views.

Burmese Style Afternoon Tea at Shwe Hlaing Village (30-45 Minutes)

Setting along the way to Mount Popa and Salay, a family business in Shwe Hlaing Village offers local tea leaf salad and tea shop. Stop to explore how locals climb Palm tree and making products such as palm sugar and liquor.

Continue sightseeing from previous day (4 Hours)

Overnight in Bagan

DAY 4: BAGAN (B)

Morning at leisure
Excursion to Kyauk Gu U min with a boat ride on the Irrawaddy River at sunset (3 Hours)

Travel by boat to the Kyauk Gu Umin, a cave temple on the banks of the Irrawaddy, with numerous rich sandstone carvings and a colossal Buddha image. Continue downriver back towards Bagan, watching life along the riverbanks and enjoying the view of sunset over the Irrawaddy.

Overnight in Bagan

DAY 5: BAGAN - MANDALAY (B, D)

By vehicle from Bagan to Mandalay (3.5 Hours)
Dazzling Mandalay – Temples, Markets, Food and Comedy

Combine the sights and smells of local markets with an evening of slapstick comedy performed by the comedic but controversial Moustache Brothers. The tour starts with a visit to several Mandalay markets to soak up the atmosphere and interact with the locals. Make your way to the Ayerawaddy River just in time to see the local fish market coming to life. Watch the trishaws, motorcycles and small trucks laden with rattan baskets full of silver fish push their way through the crowds to the market. Customers haggle for the best prices and best catch from the slippery piles of fresh catfish, grouper, snakehead fish and many other varieties found in the river. A visit to the colourful and fragrant flower market reveals a myriad of exquisite exotic flowers used as offerings for the pagodas and shrines. The next stop is at the vegetable market to see the locally grown produce, along with a visit to a nearby monastery to hear the entrancing sounds of monks chanting evening prayers. After sunset, head to a local restaurant and beer garden to relax over a glass of chilled Mandalay beer and a delicious Bbq dinner. The evening's entertainment is provided by the Moustache Brothers, three Burmese men who perform old-style vaudeville consisting of humour and satire mixed with Burmese dance. The slapstick trio became famous in the 1990s when their jokes and rants against the Myanmar government brought them a string of prison sentences involving hard labour.

Restaurant : Meals incl. in itinerary (Myanmar)(Dinner)

Overnight in Mandalay

DAY 6: MANDALAY (B)

Sightseeing in Mandalay (8 Hours)

The last capital of royal Burma, Mandalay is still one of the largest cities in Myanmar, and a cultural and spiritual centre. Neighbouring Sagaing is home to over sixty per cent of the country's monks, while the artisans of Mandalay continue to turn out the finest crafts in Myanmar. In the morning, head to Mahamuni Paya. The Mahamuni image enshrined here is perhaps the most venerated image in Myanmar, covered in over 15 cm of gold leaf. Worshippers flock daily to the shrine at four in the morning to observe the unique face-washing ceremony. En route to the pagoda, stop to observe the laborious process of Gold-Leaf Beating, where gold is painstakingly hammered into tissue-thin squares. Before breaking for lunch, visit a Craft Workshop specializing in one of the arts for which the city is famous: bronze-casting, marble-carving, wood-carving, or puppetry.

The afternoon's tour includes some of the city's most interesting temples and palaces. Begin at Shwenandaw Kyaung, or the Golden Teak Monastery. Built entirely of golden teak, this intricately carved wooden monastery was once part of the Mandalay Palace, used as private apartments by King Mindon and his chief queen. Continue to Kyauktawgyi Paya, famous for its monumental seated Buddha, carved from a single block of marble. Continue to Kuthodaw Paya, known also as "the world's biggest book". Around the central stupa are miniature pavilions, each housing a slab of marble Numbering altogether 729, these slabs are inscribed with the entire Tripitkata, or Buddhist scriptures. The final stop is at Shwe Kyin Old Monastery, an old monastery at the base of Mandalay Hill which was built during the period of King Mindon.

Visit Mandalay Hill at sunset (1 Hour)

Visit Mandalay Hill and take an easy climb up sheltered steps to experience panoramic views over the palace, Mandalay and the paya-studded countryside. The famous hermit monk, U Khanti, is credited with inspiring the construction of many of the buildings on and around the hill in the years after the founding of the city.

Overnight in Mandalay

DAY 7: MANDALAY (B)

Excursion to Amarapura, Sagaing, and Inwa (Ava) (7 Hours)

This day tour visits three former royal capitals, each with its own unique atmosphere. In the morning, drive to Amarapura, and visit Mahagandayon Monastery; every day at mid-morning, monks and novices line up to receive their daily offering of alms and food from faithful Buddhists. Next, pay a visit to Sagaing, the spiritual centre of Myanmar. Hundreds of stupas, monasteries, temples and nunneries are to be found in Sagaing Hill, sometimes known as a living Bagan. Thousands of monks and nuns retreat here for meditation and contemplation. Stop at some of the most famous temples, such as Sun U Ponya Shin Paya, U Min Thonsei Paya and Kaung Hmu Daw Paya.

Cross the river by ferry to Inwa (Ava), situated on the banks of the Irrawaddy River. Once a royal capital, Inwa (Ava) is now a quiet rural oasis. Enjoy a leisurely Horsecart Ride around the peaceful countryside, briefly visiting Bagaya Kyaung, a beautiful teak wood monastery, Maha Aungmyay Bonzan Kyaung, and Nan Myint Tower. On the way, stop and observe how local artisans make their famous alms bowls out of iron. Finally, return to Amarapura, to end the day At U Bein's Bridge, a picturesque teak bridge which extends over one kilometre across Taungthaman Lake. At dusk, the bridge teems with monks and local people as they stroll home or linger to enjoy the colours of the sunset.

Overnight in Mandalay

DAY 8: MANDALAY - HEHO - KALAW (B)

Transfer (1 Hour)

Flight from Mandalay to Heho

By vehicle from Heho to Kalaw with sightseeing at Pindaya (6 Hours)

The Pindaya Caves are ensconced in a limestone ridge overlooking the lake. Inside the cavern there are more than 8000 Buddha images made from alabaster, teak, marble, brick, lacquer and cement, and they are arranged in such a way as to form a labyrinth throughout the various cave chambers.

Overnight in Kalaw

DAY 9: KALAW - INLE LAKE (B)

Sightseeing in Kalaw with a light trek to nearby villages (6 Hours)

A popular hill station in the British days, Kalaw sits high on the western edge of the Shan Plateau. It is still a peaceful and quiet place with an atmosphere reminiscent of the colonial era. The small population is a mix of Shan, Indian Muslim, Bamar and Nepali. Visit Kalaw's most interesting attractions including: Thein Taung Paya, a temple perched on the hill overlooking the Thazi-Taunggyi Road; Aung Chang Tha Zedi, a glittering stupa covered in gold-coloured mosaics; Dhamma Yon: a two-storey temple which from its top floor offers views of the town; Hsu Taung Pye Paya, ruins and crumbling stupas just behind the Dhamma Yon; Nee Paya, located just west of town and featuring a gold lacquered bamboo Buddha. And moving to the more modern, visit Christ The King Church, a Catholic church under the supervision of the Burmese Father Paul, and the Italian Father Angelo Di Meo, who have been in Myanmar since 1931. The Christ figure over the altar came from Italy, and Father Angelo painted the mural background.

Enjoy trekking in the plateau near Kalaw, which is inhabited by people of the Palaung and Pao tribes. Intha, Shan, Taungthu, Taung-yo, Danu. Kayah, Danaw and Bamar tribes occupy the mountains to the north and east. One of the main sources of income is the cultivation of 'thanaq-hpeq' (a large leaf used to wrap Burmese cigars).

By vehicle from Kalaw to Inle Lake (3 Hours)

Transfer by boat (1 Hour)

Overnight in Inle Lake

DAY 10: INLE LAKE (B)

Excursion by boat on Inle Lake

Enjoy a boat ride on Inle Lake and discover its calm serenity, still waters and colourful brush strokes of floating vegetation and slow moving fishing canoes. Rolling high hills hug the lake on all sides, as the lake's shore and islands host 17 villages on stilts, mostly inhabited by the Intha people. Enjoy the awe inspiring scenery and meditate on the one of a kind skill of the local fishermen who make use of their legs in a unique rowing technique to glide themselves gracefully around the lake. Visit the enchanting floating gardens, a teeming market and an Intha village around the lake. The day also includes a visit to the Phaung Daw Oo Pagoda, Inn Paw Khon Village (Lotus and silk weaving villages) and the Nga Phe Kyaung Monastery.

Overnight in Inle Lake

DAY 11: INLE LAKE - HEHO - YANGON (B)

Transfer by boat (1 Hour)

By vehicle from Inle Lake to Heho (1.5 Hours)

Flight from Heho to Yangon

Transfer (1.5 Hours)

Afternoon at leisure (No ICS guide)

Overnight in Yangon

DAY 12: YANGON (B)

Transfer (1.5 Hours)


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