Well-known author and traveler described Myanmar best when he/she wrote in his Letters from the East: "it is quite unlike any land you know about". And you can find out for yourself on this tour that takes in Rangoon, Bagan, Mandalay, Pindaya, and Inle Lake and is packed with sightseeing opportunities that include the Shwedagon Pagoda, the Manuha Temple, Mount Popa, the Pindaya Caves, and the intriguing boatmen of Inle Lake.
Day 1: Arrival - Yangon. On arrival at Yangon airport, you are met and transferred to hotel. Yangon, formerly known as Rangoon has been the capital city only since 1885 although some settlements in this site date back about 2,500 years. This colorful metropolis features an intriguing mix of the scenes from a bygone era and the modern tempo of bustling streets punctuated by serene temples and impressive colonial edifices. After checking into hotel, we start our city tour, seeing the old colonial styled city center, the gilded Sule Pagoda and the impressive Karaweik Hall on the Royal Lake. We follow these with a visit to the famous Shwedagon Pagoda, which dominates the skyline of city. This masterpiece houses an intricate complex of smaller pagodas and Buddha images. Overnight in Yangon.
Day 2: Yangon – Mandalay - Mingun. The following destination of our trip is Mandalay. After a flight from Yangon we drive straight to the jetty for a boat trip on the mighty Irrawaddy River. The lively waterfront with working buffaloes offers a spectacular backdrop as we cruise upriver to Mingun. We wander around this site, seeing the unfinished huge pagoda, the world’s largest bell of Mingun and the beautiful white Hsinbyume Pagoda. Afterwards we return to Mandalay City. Here is plenty to see, some of which are the Mahamuni Pagoda, the fabulous Kuthodaw Pagoda often called “the world's largest book“ and the wooden monastery of Shwenandaw Kyaung. This structure is still standing over centuries, despite of all vicissitudes. We include these in a half day city tour which ends with a walk up to Mandalay hill for a beautiful sunset view of the surrounding areas. Overnight in Mandalay. Includes: (B)
Day 3: Amarapura – Sagaing – Ava - Bagan. The great cultural city of Mandalay was a former capital of Burma; however many outlaying towns could lay claim to the same title at some stages in the past. Today we head out of the town to one of these ancient cities, Amarapura. The spectacular teak bridge of U Bein and the famous Mahaganda Monastery are a highlight of our visit to Amarapura. We then cross over the mighty Irrawaddy River to the picturesque Sagaing Hill. This lush area is covered in 600 white painted pagodas and monasteries, and is therefore regarded as the religious centre of Myanmar. After seeing Sagaing, we continue on to the ruin of Ava and embark on a horse and carriage to discover the old wooden Bagaya Monastery and the remains of the Royal Palace. In the late afternoon we take a flight Bagan, our base for exploring the central region. Overnight in Bagan. Includes: (B)
Day 4: Bagan - Exploration. An interesting way of commencing our day is to walk around Bagan at dawn. This enchanting town flourished from the 11th till 13th century when religious fervors launched a 200 year building of thousands huge stupas and temples, many of which are still standing today on the banks of the Irrawaddy River. We visit the vibrant market of Nyaung U before taking a short drive to the archaeological zone. The sightseeing tour enables us to explore many magnificent landmarks including Shwezigon, Gubyaukgyi, Htilominlo, Ananda, Thatbyinnyu, Sulamani, Dhammyangyi. These temples and pagodas bear statement to a glorious past. The perfect way to round off the day is watching the spectacular sunset from the upper terrace of Myaukguni Temple. Overnight in Bagan. Includes: (B)
Day 5: Bagan – Mounth Popa - Bagan. Today we enjoy a half day tour of Bagan, seeing some temples scattered around the tranquil village of Minnanthu. These structures are Tayokepyay, Payathonezu and Namdamanya which reveal some exquisite murals of the13th century. The following sight is Kyat Kan Cave Monastery, a famous meditation retreat in Bagan. Heading out of the town, we make our way to the imposing Mount Popa. This extinct volcano boasts the region’s highest peak, but the main attraction in this place is the smaller one, Popa Taungkalar, dedicated to the local legendary "nat" spirits. After a scenic drive, we arrive at this site and ascend the Popa Taungkalar for a beautiful panoramic view over the surrounding areas. There are 777 steps which wind around the outcrop, leading to the gilded stupa and monastery at the summit. Overnight in Bagan. Includes: (B)
Day 6: Bagan – Heho- Pindaya – Inle Lake. An early morning transfer to airport for a short flight to Heho. On arrival we meet up with our vehicle and drive for few hours into the Shan Plateau, passing through the picturesque countryside and the rolling hills towards Pindaya. This magnificent cave in a tranquil setting of limestone outcrops and scenic lakes, houses thousand Buddha images of various shapes and sizes, all brought there by devoted pilgrims. On arrival in Pandaya we enjoy a walk exploring this sacred cave and seeing the traditional production of Shan paper and parasols at a nearby village. The journey continues on to Inle Lake, a famous wonder of Myanmar. Overnight in Inle Lake. Includes: (B)
Day 7: Inle Lake - Yangon. The picturesque scenery blending with the sky and floating gardens rising from the clear water of the lake is nothing short of spectacular. After breakfast we board our boat for a leisurely trip on Inle Lake to explore some gardens and catch a glimpse of the local Intha fishmen famous for their rowing technique. These people power their narrow boats by twisting their legs around their oars, a remarkable feat of agility and control. Along the way, we also anchor to visit the Phaung Daw Oo Pagoda, the Jumping Cat Monastery with a beautiful collection of antique Buddha statues and the rotating rural market. This colourful congregation is held in different villages every five days, and attracts numerous ethnic minorities who converge from the surrounding villages to trade their goods. Afterwards we take a flight back to the capital city. Overnight in Yangon. Includes: (B)
Day 8: Yangon - Departure. The sightseeing tour of today is all depending on your departure flight. If time permits, we visit the colossal reclining Buddha of Chaukhtatgyi in a quiet, open air pavilion and the National Museum with a lovely collection of artifacts reflecting the richness of Burmese culture. The reminder of the day is free for your own exploration and strolling around Bogyoke Market, formerly Scott’s Market. The trip ends after transfer to Mingaladon airport for departure. Includes: (B)
Also see tour packages in:
Asia Myanmar History Whiz Archeology/History Cultural Journey