Arrive Yangon, the hustling & bustling capital of Myanmar, the city today still maintains its colonial charm and gracious turn of the century old architecture. In Yanong, take a full day tour of wonderful pagodas including world famous Shwedagon Pagoda
Fly to Bagan, situated on the eastern bank of the Ayeyarwaddy River, covers more than 42 square kilometers. More popularly known as the “city of four million pagodas”. Take a boat to Monywa, and enjoy the local market at Pakokku.
Continue to Mandalay, the last capital of royal Burma, which is still one of the largest cities in Myanmar, and a cultural and spiritual center.
Fly to Heho and drive to Inle lake, an area of outstanding natural beauty. The lake itself sits at a pleasant 4,260 ft./ 1300 meters above sea level and is famous for its leg rowers, floating markets and prolific birdlife. Colorful hill tribes, inhabit fertile valleys and forested mountaintops and friendly people make this one of the must see in Myanmar.
Before you return to Yangon, visit Kalaw, a popular hill station during the British days.
Day 01 Arrive Yangon
Upon arrival in Yangon, you will be met and transferred to hotel.
Afternoon at leisure, or just explore around the down town.
Yangon lies in the fertile delta of southern Myanmar, on the wide Yangon River. The city is filled with shaded boulevards, while shimmering Stupas float above the treetops. The city became the capital only in 1885, when the British completed their conquest of Upper Myanmar and Mandalay's brief period as capital of the last Burmese kingdom ended.
Day 02 Fly Yangon - Bagan. Tour of Bagan.
Transfer to airport and fly to Bagan. You will be met by your guide upon arrival. Tour of Bagan.
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 colorful painting about the previous life of Buddha and the distinguished architecture make this temple an interesting site for a visit. This temple is not to be confounded with the Gubyaukgyi Temple in Myinkabe.
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. This Pagoda is ideal to watch Bagan's magnificent sunsets.
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 laquerware making and decoration.
Day 03 Boat Bagan- Pakkoku, overland to Monywa
Morning Bagan to Pakkoku by boat. Explore the bustling town of Pakokku, with a visit (perhaps by trishaw) to the local market and a stop to the cheroot factory, where visitors can observe the manufacture of this typical kind of mild Burmese cigar.
Drive to Monywa, situated on the eastern bank of the Chindwin River, Monywa is now the second biggest town in Upper Myanmar and serves as a major trade center for agricultural produce from the surrounding Chindwin Valley, especially beans, pulses and palm sugar.
THANBODDHAY PAYA: Every spare surface of this temple, inside and out, is covered with thousands of miniature Buddha images (almost 600,000 altogether); the cumulative effect is spectacularly colorful.
BODDHI TATAUNG: A grove of banyan trees with a Buddha image at the base of each one.
Day 04 Overland Monywa- Mandalay
Drive to Mandalay. En-route visit POW WIN DAUNG: this mountain contains a series of caves set in the hillside along a meandering path and contains Buddha images and beautifully preserved murals dating from the 14th-16th centuries.
SHWE BA TAUNG PAYA. Shrines and pavilions are carved into the sandstone hillside here, colorfully decorated with mosaics and Buddha images. Whimsical sculptures adorn the path and walls, such as a giant golden frog sitting by the road or an elephant carved to form a temple doorway.
Cross the Chindwin River by local ferry and continue to Mandalay.
Day 05 Full day tour in and around Mandalay
Sightseeing in Amarapura and Mandalay.
The last capital of royal Burma, Mandalay is still one of the largest cities in Myanmar, and a cultural and spiritual center. Neighboring Sagaing is home to over sixty percent of the country's monks, while the artisans of Mandalay continue to turn out the finest crafts in Myanmar.
In the morning, head to AMARAPURA, also a former royal capital, and visit MAHAGANDAYON MONASTERY; in the morning, monks and novices line up to receive their daily offering of alms and food from faithful Buddhists.
Enjoy the atmosphere of U BEIN'S BRIDGE, a picturesque teak bridge which extends over one kilometer across Taungthaman Lake, and the highlight of any visit to Amarapura.
Visit 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 out into tissue-thin squares.
Continue to 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. Afterwards visit KYAUKAWGYI PAYA, famous for its monumental seated Buddha, carved from a single block of marble, and the elegant SANDAMANI PAYA. The final stop is at 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.
Visit Mandalay Hill at sunset.
Day 06 Fly Mandalay - Heho, drive, then boat to Inle Lake
Transfer to airport and fly to Heho. By vehicle from Heho to Inle Lake. Excursion by boat on Inle Lake through the canals to visit various villages on the lake
INLE LAKE: Inle Lake, located in Shan State, is beautiful, with very calm waters dotted with patches of floating vegetation and fishing canoes. High hills rim the lake on all sides. The lake's shore and islands bear 17 villages on stilts, mostly inhabited by the Intha people. Enjoy the spectacular scenery and observe the skilled fisherman using their leg-rowing technique to propel themselves around the lake.
Taking a boat trip along the lake to see local life with opportunity to see the way that fisherman row their boats while standing on one leg. Enjoy visiting various villages and seeing kids returning home from the school on the boat.
Overnight Inle Lake.
Day 07 Inle Lake
Visit the floating gardens, a market and a Intha village around the lake (please note that no markets take place on full moon or new moon days). The day sightseeing also includes a visit to the PHAUNG DAW OO PAGODA, INN PAW KHON VILLAGE (Lotus and silk weaving) and the NGA PHE KYAUNG MONASTERY.
Overnight Inle Lake.
Day 08 Inle Lake - Kalaw
Transfer by boat, then to Kalaw by vehicle.
Sightseeing in Kalaw with a light trek to nearby village, which was 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.
THEIN TAUNG PAYA: temple perched on the hill overlooking the Thazi-Taunggyi Road.
AUNG CHANG THA ZEDI: glittering stupa (Buddhist religious monument) covered in gold-coloured mosaics.
DHAMMA YON: a two-storey temple which from upstairs has fair views of the town, Dhamma Yanthi Paya and the ruins of the Hsu Taung Pye Paya.
HSU TAUNG PYE PAYA: ruins and now a field of crumbling stupas behind the Dhamma Yon towards the Kalaw Hotel.
NEE PAYA: located west of the town, it features a gold lacquered bamboo Buddha.
CHRIST THE KING CHURCH: a brick 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.
TREKKING: the plateau near Kalaw is inhabited by people of the Palaung and Pao tribes. Intha, Shan, Taungthu, Taung-yo, Danu. Kayah, Danaw and Bamar people 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).
Day 09 Kalaw – Heho. Fly to Yangon
By vehicle from Kalaw to Heho with sightseeing at Pindaya.
PINDAYA CAVES: these 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 are arranged in such a way as to form a labyrinth throughout the various cave chambers.
Flight from Heho to Yangon. Meet and transfer to hotel.
Day 10 Full day tour in and around Yangon.
Sightseeing in Yangon.
Visit Chaukhtatgyi Paya. The reclining Buddha at Chaukhtatgyi is almost as large as the enormous figure in Bago. It's housed in a large metal-roofed shed on Shwegondaing Lan, only short distance north-east beyond the Shwedagon Paya. Surprisingly,this huge figure is little known and hardly publicised at all- if you can't go to Bago to see the Shwethalyaung,then don't miss this colossal image.
Visit Botataung Pagoda: BOTATAUNG PAGODA: this paya was named after the 1000 military leaders who escorted relics of the Buddha brought from India over 2000 years ago. This ancient monument was completely destroyed during WWII. It was then rebuilt in a very similar style to its predecessor, but the zedi is hollow and one can walk through it.
Visit Bogyoke Aung San (Scott) Market (closed on Mondays)
BOGYOKE AUNG SAN MARKET: also known as Scott Market, this building contains over 2000 stalls and is the best place in Yangon to browse through the complete range of local handicrafts.
Visit Shwedagon Pagoda at sunsetSHWEDAGON PAGODA: the highlight of any visit to Yangon, this pagoda towers over the city and is the most sacred spot in the country, built to house eight hair relics of the Buddha. The Shwedagon and surrounding shrines are particularly beautiful during the sunset hour, as the golden stupa reflects the changing colors of twilight.
Day 11 Yangon - U.S. or an extension
Transfer to airport and fly back home or extend your trip to Laos, Cambodia or Bhutan.