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Day 1: Arrive in Rangoon (Yangon)
Upon arrival at Rangoon airport you will be met and transferred to our hotel.
Day 2: Rangoon Sites
We visit one of the world's most spectacular monuments, the Shwedagon Pagoda.
Day 3: Fly to Mandalay, explore Mandalay
After breakfast, transfer to the airport for domestic flight to MANDALAY. Upon arrival, we are transferred to your hotel.
Day 4: 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.
Days 5 - 6: Begin 2-day Irrawaddy River Cruise
After an early breakfast, we transfer to the jetty for our 3 day / 2 night river journey along the Irrawaddy River. We set sail for Mingun to visit the Pagoda complex. Relax and enjoy lunch, dinner and overnight on board.
Day 7: Irrawaddy River Cruise to Bagan
After breakfast on board, we arrive in Bagan and transfer to our hotel. After strolling through the colourful local market we spend the day visiting the most significant pagodas and temples of Bagan including Shwezigon Pagoda, built by King Anawrahta in the early 11th century as a religious shrine; Ku Byanuk Gyi, a temple with superb murals of Jataka scenes; Khay Min Ga Temple, noted for its panoramic view of the area's numerous monuments and Ananda Temple, with four standing Buddha images.
Day 8: Ancient sites & temples of Bagan
After breakfast, visit Tayokepyay Temple in Min Nan Thu Village; Phaya Thone Zu and Nandamanya Temples noted for exquisite murals of 13th century; and Kyat Kan Cave monastery, a famous meditation retreat in Bagan. We continue to farming villages around Bagan to gain an insight into the lives of the local people. We will have a late lunch and enjoy some further temple visits. We complete the day by watching the sunset over the many ancient temples dotting the country-side.
Day 9: 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. 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. The setting and views are spectacular. In the afternoon, we drive back to Bagan for dinner and overnight.
Day 10: To the Hill Station of Kalaw
After an early breakfast, we set out on a long drive on a narrow, winding and bumpy road through the Shan Hills. Upon arrival, we drive to Kalaw, a delightful hill station on the rim of the Shan Plateau, which is the market center for hilltribes from surrounding regions. At 1,320 meters, Kalaw has a cool and pleasant climate.
Day 11: Kalaw, To Inle Lake
After breakfast, we visit the Nhee Paya (Bamboo Strip Lacquer Buddha Image) at Pinmagon Monastery and drive to Nyaung Shwe. Upon arrival, we have a short walking tour of the small town. We visit the Phaungdaw Oo Pagoda, one of the main principle shrines in Myanmar and dating back to the 18th century; the Nga Phe Chaung Monastery and the weaving village of Inpawkhon. Lunch will be served at local restaurant.
Day 12: One Leg Rowers of Inle Lake
After breakfast, we start an excursion by boat on Inle Lake to see the famous leg rowers, typical floating gardens, local methods of fishing, village life, magnificent scenery and one of the local markets in the Inle Lake region (on market days only).
Day 13: Inle Lake, Fly to Kyaing Tong
After breakfast, we transfer by boat to Nyaung Shwe and drive to HEHO airport for our domestic flight to Kyaing Tong. Upon arrival, we transfer to our hotel. Lunch will be served at a local restaurant.
Day 14: Hill Tribes of Kyaing Tong
After breakfast, we drive to Loimwe, located on a mountain plateau. Enroute, we visit the Wa village of Naung known as the birth place of one of the earliest ethnic tribes of Shan country. In Loimwe, visit the Old Catholic church built by the Italian mission early in the 19th century and see some of the colonial houses built as summer residences during the British colonial era.
Day 15: Kyaing Tong, Fly to Rangoon
Today, after a relaxing breakfast and morning in Kyaing Tong, we leave the hilltribe area behind and return to the urban setting of Rangoon.
Day 16: Golden Rock
After breakfast, we make our way to Bago where we visit the Thamanay Buddhist Seminary where about 150 monks and novices live. It is located at the entrance of the city. We then enjoy the thousand year old Shwemawdaw Pagoda with its spire taller than the Shwedagon pagoda. After lunch, we proceed to Kinpun to visit The Golden Rock, one of the most important 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 place by a strain of Buddha's hair. Spend the rest of the day exploring this site before experiencing the sunset which casts a beautiful glow.
Day 17: Rangoon
After breakfast, we return to Rangoon. Enroute we visit the reclining Shwe Tha Lyaung Buddha, and the four giantBuddha images at Kyaik Pun Pagoda. We also visit Allied War Graves cemetary near Htauk Kyan and the "Nat" tree shrine. When arrive back in Rangoon in time to relax before our farewell dinner.
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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