Day 1: Arrive in Bangkok and transfer via your hotel's shuttle for check-in. The balance of the day is free at leisure with meals on your own. Overnight in Bangkok.
Day 2: Enjoy breakfast and transfer via your hotel's shuttle van to Suvarnabhumi Airport for your morning flight departing Bangkok to Yangon, Myanmar.
Arrive at the Yangon Airport with a welcome by our guide. Formerly known as Rangoon, Yangon is still a relatively quiet and charming city. The city's impressive colonial and spiritual heritage makes Yangon one of the most fascinating and authentic capitals of South East Asia.
See the National Museum and Kyaukhtatgyi Pagoda's 70-meter-long reclining Buddha. After hotel check-in and refreshment, visit Myanmar's holiest monument, the Shwedagon Pagoda — a golden stupa covered with 60 tons of pure gold leaf. Overnight in Yangon.
Day 3: After breakfast, explore Yangon by car and on foot for a close look at daily life. We journey to the city center near the Sule Pagoda. You'll stroll around Mahabandoola Park to see the colonial courthouse and the city hall. We tour the colonial area highlighting its historic buildings and continue along the famous Strand Road to the riverside near by Botataung Pagoda.
In the afternoon visit Bogyoke Market to see Myanmar handicrafts and other goods. End your day by meandering in colorful Chinatown and visit one of Yangon's Chinese temples. Overnight in Yangon.
Day 4: Leave Yangon in the morning for a fascinating journey by road to Kyaikhtiyo (about 5 hours). We stop on the way for lunch at a local restaurant. After we arrive at Kyaikhtiyo Base Camp, we transfer to the transit junction by local open truck.
From here, it's a short, 45 minute hike to the base of Golden Rock with its scenic beauty, nature and the culture of local people along the way. On our return, we check-in at our hotel. In the afternoon take a steep one-hour walk up to the site itself. An (additional cost) alternative to the steep uphill hike, is to ascend like a king — four porters can carry you in a specially made sedan chair! A huge boulder, covered by gold leaf and delicately balanced on the edge of a cliff, Golden Rock is one of Myanmar's main pilgrimage sites. The pagoda at the Golden Rock is said to hold a hair of the Buddha. Overnight near Golden Rock.
Day 5: After breakfast we return to the base camp by open truck and back to Yangon. We stop in Bago — an ancient capital dating back to the 6th Century. Visit the reclining Buddha (55 meter long) at Shwethalyaung and the Mon-style Shwemawdaw Pagoda, one of the most venerated in Myanmar. Its spire stands 114 meters high — taller than Shwedagon Pagoda. After lunch visit the old palace "Kambozathadi" and the huge four-sitting-Buddha's "Kyaikpun." Just before Yangon, see the Allied War Cemetery near Htaukkyan — the final resting place for over 27,000 allied soldiers. We'll arrive in Yangon in the evening to spend the night.
Day 6: After a hotel breakfast, transfer for our flight to Mandalay. Visit the Mahamuni Pagoda, famous for its statue of Buddha covered with gold leaf. Mandalay is a center of skilled crafts and we'll visit traditional workshops for woodcarving, marble masonry, Kalaga tapestry and gold leaf making.
After lunch, visit the Kuthodaw Pagoda with 729 marble stone slabs of Buddhist scripture (the world's biggest 'book') and Shwenandaw Monastery, with exquisite woodcarving. We'll close our day with a sunset view from Mandalay Hill. Overnight in Mandalay.
Day 7: After breakfast, we depart Mandalay for a scenic drive to the former British hill station of Maymyo. Now called Pyin Oo Lwin, it is located on a plateau 1,000 meters above sea level. Many reminders of the colonial era still exist — brick and timber houses with British names and the Botanical Gardens. Visit the local town market.
In the afternoon enjoy a traditional horse and carriage ride through the town, see the historic houses and stroll through the Botanical Gardens. Overnight in Pyin Oo Lwin.
Day 8: After a relaxed breakfast, visit more sites in Pyin Oo Lwin. In late morning, return to Mandalay. Lunch en-route. Your afternoon free to explore or at leisure. Overnight in Mandalay.
Day 9: After breakfast, depart to the former capitals of Amarapura, Ava and Sagaing with a special opportunity to attend the daily meal with over one thousand monks at the largest monastery, Mahagandayon in Amarapura. Visit a silk weaving workshop. We continue to Ava (the capital from 14th - 18th centuries) to visit by horse and carriage the wooden Bagaya Monastery and the remains of the Royal Palace and Fort. Lunch awaits.
We cross the bridge over Irrawaddy River and continue to Sagaing. With 600 whitewashed pagodas and monasteries, Sagaing Hill is widely regarded as the religious center of Myanmar and is home to 3,000 monks and 100 meditation centers. Visit Swan Oo Pon Nya Shin Pagoda, U Min Thone Sae' Pagoda and Shin Pin Nan Gyaing Pagoda. Admire the sunset over the 200 year-old U Bein Bridge, constructed entirely from teak. Overnight tonight in Mandalay.
Day 10: After breakfast, we head to the harbor and transfer to the jetty for our riverboat embarkation. Onboard, we head upstream to Mingun. Lunch served onboard. The sailing time is about 2 hours. In Mingun, our staff will assist your visit of the Mingun Pagoda. We moor overnight at a secure sandbank, mid-stream. Dinner and a restful night onboard.
Day 11: Early this morning we pull anchor to cruise downstream. Admire the passing natural beauty of the river and the life along its banks relaxing on the sundeck or outside your own cabin. Enjoy the sunrise over Sagaing Hill! After breakfast, go ashore to visit Sagaing with the aid of our guide.
We depart late morning and lunch will follow onboard. In late afternoon we stop at Yandabo, a village of pot-making. The peace treaty of the First Anglo-Burmese war was signed here in 1826. Cruise further along and moor overnight near the village of Shwe Nann Tint with dinner and your evening onboard.
Day 12: Early in the morning we continue down the river to Bagan. If there's time, explore other typical river villages. We disembark after breakfast where you are welcomed back to shore by your guide!
Thousands of ancient stupas and temples in this area make Bagan one of the most remarkable sites in Asia and a UNESCO World Heritage Site. More than 13,000 temples, pagodas and other religious structures were built since the 2nd century. Thousands of stupas and temples stand today along the banks of the Irrawaddy River. See Shwezigon Pagoda and its golden stupa, cave temple Wetkyi-In Gubyaukgyi and elegant Htilominlo Temple, with plaster carvings and glazed sandstone.
Visit Ananda Temple and continue to Ananda Okkyaung — a surviving brick monastery from early Bagan. End the day with a horse carriage tour amidst the temples at Ananda, passing Thatbyinnyu (the highest), massive Dhammayangyi Temple with remarkable brickwork and Sulamani. Dinner in Bagan with a puppet show. Overnight in Bagan.
Day 13: After breakfast, stop by Nyaung Oo Market before visiting Myinkaba Village with sites such as Gubyaukgi (oldest mural paintings), Manuha and Nanpaya. See the production of lacquer ware in a colorful, local-family workshop. Scout the countryside village of Minnanthu — the least visited area in Bagan with unique temples Payathonzu, Lemyethna and Nandamannya. Close near Nyaung Oo village for a sunset view. Overnight in Bagan.
Day 14: Following breakfast, transfer for a flight to Heho, via Mandalay. From Heho, a scenic drive leads to Nyaung Shwe, the gateway village to Inle Lake. Stop at the wooden Shwe Yan Pyay Monastery.
Board our private motorboat onto Inle Lake — one of Myanmar's most spectacular sights. Pass stilt villages and admire the floating gardens of water hyacinth.
Visit Nga Hpe Chaung (Jumping Cats) Monastery with its Shan Buddhas and Phaung Daw Oo Pagoda. Continue to Inpawkhone to observe traditional silk weaving and visit a Cheroot factory where Burmese cigars are still made by hand. Explore the many small villages nearby. Overnight on Inle Lake.
Day 15: After breakfast, it's the floating lake market, visited by lake dwellers and hill tribes. We float down a small canal leading to the Pa O village of In Dein. Stroll the village and take the covered stairway to beautiful Alaung Sitthou — where ancient stupas are partly covered by lush vegetation and a magnificent view over the lake.
In the afternoon, transfer to the Heho Airport for the return to Yangon and transfer to your hotel to settle-in. A full a la carte farewell dinner is in store later tonight. Overnight in Yangon.
Day 16: After breakfast, it's time to bid a farewell to timeless Myanmar. Transfer with the hotel shuttle to Yangon's Mingalardon Airport for your departure flight to return home.
2012 Set Dates: Myanmar: Mystical Burma 2012 December 1 - 16, 2012 From Bangkok, Thailand.
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Asia Myanmar Local Culture Cultural Journey Walking Tours