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: Rangoon Sites

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.
Bogyoke (Scotts) Market with hundreds of stores selling food, clothes, handicrafts and gems. Then we drive to Yangon’s colonial-style city center. Visit Sule Pagoda, dating back over 2,000 years ago; and after a photo stop at the Karaweik Hall, a 'hamsa-bird-shaped' floating barge on Kandawgyi (Royal) Lake.
Dinner and overnight in Rangoon.


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.

In the afternoon, experience the sights and sounds of Mandalay including one of the most revered religious monuments in Myanmar, the Mahamuni Pagoda; next we see Marble carving and gold-leaf making; the Shwe Inbin Monastery; Kyauk TawK Gyi Pagoda; the Golden Palace Monastery: Shwe Nan Daw Kyaung, a superb example of a traditional wooden building and Kuthodaw Pagoda, the world’s largest book, made of marble. We continue with a visit to a traditional hand-woven silk workshop as well as a Kalaga tapestries craftsmen’s shop before proceeding to Mandalay hill for sunset.

Dinner and overnight in Mandalay.


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.

After lunch, 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.


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.

The next morning, we continue on to Yandapo, a small rural village where a treaty between the British and Burmese was signed in 1826. Now the village is famous for its handmade terracotta pots produced in traditional ways. After a short tour, we continue our cruise of the Irrawaddy to where the Chindwin River and the Irrawaddy River meet. Here we will moor overnight.
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.

After lunch, visit one of Myanmar's most treasured handicrafts, a lacquerware craftsmen's workshop in nearby Myinkaba village. We also visit the Manuha Temple, Nanbaya temple, Myingaba Gu Byaukgyi temple, Bypaya Pagoda or Mingala Zedi Stupa to watch the sunset over the famous Ayeyarwaddy River. Overnight in Bagan


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.
Dinner and overnight in Bagan.


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.

Optional 1 Hour Sunrise over Bagon Balloon Excursion $350USD (possible for day 9 or 10)


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.
Dinner and overnight in Kalaw.


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.
Dinner and overnight on the shore of Inle Lake.


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).

After lunch, we continue by boat to the Western Shore of Inle Lake to the beginning of a stair path leading to the hidden and unknown Indein Pagoda complex.
Dinner and overnight on the shore of Inle Lake.


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.

In the afternoon (time permitting; flights can change or often be delayed) we enjoy an excursion to the sights of Kyaing Tong include Maha Myat Muni Pagoda (Wat Pha Jao Lung), the most glorious temple of Kyaing Tong; the Khun Shan monastery of Wat Zom Kham, the most impressive among all the Shan temples in the city with the interior walls filled up with gold leaves on lacquer Jatakas.
Dinner at a local restaurant and overnight in Kyaing Tong.


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.
We then drive back to Kyaing Tong to enjoy lunch at local restaurant.

In the afternoon, we visit the Lone Tree hill where a very tall Pterocarpus tree is said to have been planted by the visiting Burmese king from Kon Baung Dynasty 200 years ago to experience their more modern way of life. Enjoy dinner at a simple local restaurant.
Overnight in Kyaing Tong.


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.
Dinner and overnight in 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.
Overnight in Kyaikhtiyo.


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.
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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