Burma - The Road to Mandalay

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Day 1: Arrive in Rangoon (Yangon)

Upon arrival at Rangoon airport you will be met and transferred to our hotel.
We enjoy dinner and an orientation briefing tonight.
Overnight in Rangoon (Yangon).


Day 2: Golden Rock Temple

After breakfast, we drive the Golden Rock. Enroute, we stop at Shwe Nyaung Pin Nat shrine. Buddhists go their to get their cars blessed. Nats (or Spirits) play a very important role in Myanmar apart from Buddhism. We also visit Htauk Kyant war cemetery which was built for the allied soldiers who died during the WW2 fighting against the Japanese Army. There are the names of 27,000 soldiers engraved on the columns. The cemetery is maintained by the Commonwealth War Grave Commission.

After lunch, we continue to Kinpun Base camp. Then, we are transferred to open trucks for an enjoy adventurous drive. Golden Rock, (or Kyaik Hti Yo Pagoda) is one of the most religious sites in Myanmar and a dream destination for devout Buddhists. The boulder is painted gold and is balanced on the edge of a cliff. According to myth, it is held in placed by a strain of Buddha's hair. Spend the rest of the day exploring this site before experiencing the sunset which casts a beautiful golden glow.
Overnight in Kinpun Base Camp, Kyaikhtiyo.


Day 3: Mon Village & Local Market, to Rangoon

After breakfast, we drive back to Yangon. We visit a local market in Bago which was known as Hanthawaddy, the former capital of Myanmar and Mon emperors. We also visit a Mon village in Bago. We continue back to Yangon.
Dinner and overnight in Yangon.


Day 4: Fly to Kyaing Tong

After breakfast, we transfer to the airport for our flight to Kyaing Tong. After lunch at a local restaurant, we go to our hotel for check in. In the afternoon, we visit Kyaing Tong including One Tree Hill view point, Shan Lacquerware workshop and the scenic Naung Tong Lake.
Dinner and overnight in Kyaing Tong.


Day 5: Hill Tribes of Kyaing Tong

Today we explore the colorful Kyaing Tong market and enjoy a full day excursion to the surrounding hill tribe villages. We drive about one hour to Pin Thauk village to visit the Arn Hill tribe who live on the slope of the hills. We also visit an Akha tribe to see their famous spectacular head dresses that jingle with silver and colored tassels.

On the way, we stop to meet the Lahu people whose origins date back to the Tibeto-Burman era. We will also meet the Khuns people known for their elegant embroidered silk longys and colorful turbans. Enjoy a picnic lunch enroute to Kyaing Tong as we end our day with a pleasant drive passing through many picturesque forests and terraced rice fields. We stop at an animist Palaung village whose tribe is amongst the oldest inhabitants of Myanmar.
Overnight in Kyaing Tong.


Day 6: Fly to Bagan (UNESCO), Market and Temples

After breakfast, we fly to Bagan. Upon arrival, we enjoy a stroll through the colorful local market, followed by visits to the most significant pagodas and temples of Bagan. We visit the Shwezigon Pagoda, built by King Anawrahta in the early 11th century as a religious shrine; Ananda Temple, with four standing Buddha images.
We also visit the archaeological museum where we see beautiful Buddha images of bronze, stone and lacquer.
After lunch, we visit a lacquerware craftsmen's workshop in nearby Myinkaba village, which is one of Myanmar's most treasured handicrafts. Then, we go to the hotel and check in.
In the afternoon, we visit Manuha Temple, built in the Mon style in 1059. Next, we explore the Myingaba Gu Byaukgyi Temple, a temple noteworthy for its mural paintings under the protection of UNESCO. Finally, we go to Shwe San Daw to watch the sunset over the majestic Irrawaddy River.
Dinner and overnight Bagan.


Day 7: Ancient sites & temples of Bagan

After breakfast, visit Dhamayarzinka Pagoda, Min Nan Thu Village and Phaya Thone Zu Temple. We continue to farming villages around Bagan to gain an insight into the lives of the local people. After lunch, we enjoy some further temple visits. We complete the day by watching the sunset over the many ancient temples dotting the country-side.
Dinner and overnight in Bagan.


Day 8: Mount Popa

After breakfast, we drive to Mount Popa. On the way, we stop at Palm forest to observe how palm suger, toddy (sky beer) and moonshine are made. Then we visit a typical Burmese village called Shwe Sin Taing to observe the way of life there. We continue to Mt Popa, an extinct volcano with spectacular views. Its shrine is dedicated to animist spirits known as "Nats" and you will have time to climb the 777 steps to the shrine at the top of the peak. It is optional to climb to the top.The setting and views are spectacular.
In the afternoon, we drive back to Bagan for dinner and overnight.


Days 9 - 10: Irrawaddy River Cruise

After an early breakfast, we transfer to the jetty for our 2 night river journey along the Irrawaddy River. Relax and enjoy lunch, dinner and overnight on board.
Cruising down the Irrawaddy river is like traveling back in time. Savour the pace of life on the river as we see woman washing clothes on the banks of the river, to fisherman catching their next meal, to children cooling off and playing by the shore.
Today, we cruise along the Irrawaddy river to where the Chindwin River and the Irrawaddy River meet. We visit Yandapo, a small rural village where a treaty between the British and Burmese was signed in 1826. Today, the village is famous for its handmade terracotta pots produced in traditional ways. We will moor overnight on the river.
The next day, we set sail for Mingun to visit the Pagoda complex.
Lunch, dinner and overnight on board.


Day 11: Mandalay

We arrive at the jetty and start our journey which includes Mahamuni Pagoda and a Gold leaf work shop. After lunch, we go to our hotel and check in.
In the afternoon, we pay a visit to Kuthodaw Pagoda to see the world's largest book made of marble.
We also visit Golden Palace Monastery (Shwenandaw Kyaung) and Mandalay Hill for a spectacular sunset.
Dinner and overnight in Mandalay.


Day 12: Former Royal Capitals and Monasteries

After breakfast, we depart for Amarapura outside of Mandalay, to visit the Mahagandayon Monastery, where more than a thousand monks live and study. Time permitting, we will have the opportunity to observe the monks having their last meal of the day in total silence. We continue to U Bein Teak Bridge, built in 1782 at the time when Amarapura was the Royal capital. Visit a traditional hand- woven silk workshop as well as a Kalaga tapestries craftsmen's shop.

After lunch, we embark on a short boat excursion to the former Royal Capital of Inwa (Ava). A horse drawn carriage awaits us for a ride to the Nanmyint watch tower, the remains of the palace building nicknamed "the leaning tower of Ava". We continue the journey to Maha Aungmye Bonzan Monastery as well as Bargayar Monastery, famous for its impressive, ornate wood carvings and teak posts. Continue on to Sagaing Hills, which is a retreat for Buddhist devotees and later we enjoy a fantastic sunset.
Dinner and overnight in Mandalay.


Day 13: Fly To the Shan Plateau, Explore Kalaw

After breakfast, we transfer to the airport for our flight to Heho. Upon arrival, we drive to Kalaw. We visit Thayetpu village which is a village for the Pa-O ethnic group. We also stop at Aung Ban, a junction town in southern Shan State. Finally, we arrive in Kalaw, a delightful hill station on the rim of the Shan Plateau, which is the market center for hilltribes from the surrounding region. At 1,320 meters, Kalaw has a cool and pleasant climate.

In the afternoon, we visit Shwe Oo Min pagoda, a small cave with several Buddha statues, Kalaw Train Station and a local market.

We also drive to a farming village called Myinmahtee where Danu people live. We enjoy a walking tour through this peaceful place with an atmosphere reminiscent of the colonial era.
Dinner and overnight in Kalaw.


Day 14: Intriguing Sites of Inle Lake

We take a morning drive to Nyaung Shwe, a gateway town to Inle lake. Enroute, we visit Shan Paper and Umbrella making workshop. We stop for photos at the 100 year old beautiful Shwe Yan Pyay Monastery, famous for it's oval shape windows.

After lunch in Nyaung Shwe, we continue our journey by long tail boats to Phaungdaw Oo Pagoda, one of the main principle shrines in Myanmar dating back to the 18th century. We continue on to Nga Phe Kyaung Monastery which was famous for its jumping cats trained by monks. We finish with a visit to the weaving village of Inpawkhon.
Overnight on Inle Lake.


Day 15: One Legged Rowers of Inle Lake

We take a morning journey by boat to the western shore of Inle Lake and the beginning of a stair path leading to the hidden Inn Thein Pagoda complex. A large, covered passage, supported by 406 pillars leads into the complex.
The passage holds many small ancient stupas, carved with figures and floral designs which leads to the Inn Thein Buddha Image, said to have been donated by the Indian Emperor Asoka, who reigned over most of the Indian subcontinent in the 3rd century BC. There are 1054 stupas, of which most of them are in ruins.
After lunch, we continue to explore and witness life around the lake where we see the famous one legged rowers, typical floating gardens, local methods of fishing and magnificent scenery.
Overnight on Inle Lake.


Day 16: Fly to Rangoon (Yangon)

After breakfast, we fly to Rangoon. Upon arrival, we visit the magnificent reclining Buddha at Chauk Htat Gyi Pagoda. We then visit the Karaweik Hall - a floating barge on Kandawgyi Lake and the colonial city center of Rangoon.
Dinner and overnight in Rangoon (Yangon).


Day 17: Rangoon, Shwedagon Pagoda

Today, we visit one of the world's most spectacular monuments, the Shwedagon Pagoda. For Burmese Buddhists, Shwedagon is the most sacred of all Buddhist sites in the country, one which all Burmese hope to visit at least once in their lifetime.
We explore Bogyoke (Scotts) Market with its myriad of goods including food, clothing, handicrafts, gems and much more.
We drive to the Nanthida jetty to cross the Yangan River on a local ferry. We visit Dalla Village, riding in rickshaws through the small village streets which provide an interesting glimpse of local life. We visit the old colonial Strand Hotel, built in 1896 by Aviet and Tigran Sarkie, two of the Sarkie brothers. The hotel was used to quarter Japanese troops during World War II.
Tonight we will enjoy our Farewell Dinner.
Overnight in Rangoon (Yangon).


Day 18: Depart Rangoon (Yangon)

After breakfast, you have free time until your transfer to Rangoon (Yangon) Airport for your departure flight.

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