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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 meet for dinner and our orientation tonight. Overnight in Rangoon (Yangon).
Day 2: Rangoon Exploration
After breakfast we begin our adventure with a visit to one of the world's most spectacular monuments, the Shwedagon Pagoda, a great cone-shaped Buddhist monument of brick that is covered in gold. After seeing this impressive stupa, we continue on to the National Museum to see the 8-meter high Golden Lion Throne as well as the Mandalay Royal Regalia.
Day 3: Fly to Mandalay, sightseeing
After breakfast, morning at leisure until transfer to the airport for our flight to Mandalay. Our sightseeing in Mandalay includes one of the most revered religious monuments in Myanmar, the Mahamuni Pagoda. 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). Visit a traditional hand- woven silk workshop as well as a Kalaga tapestries craftsmen's shop before we go to Mandalay Hill for spectacular sunset viewing. Overnight in Mandalay.
Day 4: Former Royal Capitals and Monasteries
After breakfast, 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. Continue to 200-year-old U Bein Teak Bridge, built in 1782 at the time when Amarapura was the Royal capital. The Bagaya Monastery will fascinate you with an intriguing collection of Buddha statues.
Day 5: Begin 3-day Irrawaddy River Cruise
After an early breakfast, we transfer to the jetty to Embark 3 day / 2 night river journey along the Irrawaddy River. We set sail for Mingun to visit the Pagoda complex. Enjoy lunch and dinner on board.
Day 6: Yandapo Village - Chindwin Confluence
In the early morning we continue on to Yandapo village, a small rural village that is well known for a treaty signed here between the British and Burmese in 1826. Now the village is famous for its handmade terracotta pots produced in traditional ways. After a short tour, we set sail to 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: To Pagan
In the early morning, we arrive in Pagan and we are transferred to our hotel. After a stroll through the colorful local market, we continue the day with visits to the most significant pagodas and temples of Pagan. These are 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 temples of Pagan
After breakfast, visit the site of Tayokepyay Temple in Min Nan Thu Village; Phaya Thone Zu and Nandamanya Temples noted for exquisite murals of 13th century; Kyat Kan Cave monastery, a famous meditation retreat in Pagan. Continue to farming villages around Pagan to gain an insight into the lives of the local people. We will have a late lunch and enjoy some further temple visits. Complete the day by watching the sunset over the many temples and majestic Irrawaddy River. Overnight Pagan.
Day 9: Mount Popa
After breakfast, we drive to Mount 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.
Day 10: To Kalaw on the Shan Plateau
After an early breakfast, we begin our drive to Kalaw with a stop enroute for lunch. Arrive in Kalaw in the late afternoon and proceed to the hotel for check-in. Overnight Kalaw.
Day 11: The Hill Station of Kalaw
After breakfast, we start our sightseeing in Kalaw, delightful hill station on the rim of the Shan Plateau, which is a market center for hilltribes from surrounding regions. We visit a small cave with several Buddha statues. We return to Kalaw for lunch and drive east to a farming village where Pa-O and Shan people live. In the late afternoon, enjoy a walking tour through this peaceful place with an atmosphere reminiscent of the colonial era. Nowadays the town is a market center for ethnic minorities from surrounding regions. Overnight in Kalaw.
Day 12: To Inle Lake
Morning drive to Nyaung Shwe for a short walk through the small town. We continue by boat to Nampan and the Golden Island Cottages. Each bungalow is made of local material and built on stilts up on the lake itself. Visit the Phaungdaw Oo Pagoda, one of the main principle shrines in Myanmar dating back to the 18th century. Continue on to the Nga Phe Kyaung Monastery, famous for its jumping cats trained by monks and finish with a visit to the weaving village of Inpawkhon. The afternoon is free to explore on your own or relax before dinner. Overnight on Inle Lake.
Day 13: Famous One Leg Rowers of Inle Lake
A morning journey by boat to view life around the lake with the famous leg rowers, typical floating gardens, local methods of fishing and magnificent scenery. After lunch, journey to the western shore of Inle Lake to the beginning of a stair path leading to the hidden and relatively unknown Inn Thein Pagoda complex. A large, covered passage, supported by 804 pillars leads into the complex. The passage holds many small ancient stupas, carved with figures and floral designs. The passage ends at the Inn Thein Buddha Image, said to have been donated by the Emperor Asoka. Overnight on Inle Lake.
Day 14: Fly to Kyaing Tong
After breakfast, we transfer to the airport for our flight to Kyaing Tong. On the way to the airport, we visit a parasol workshop. After our local lunch, we explore Kyaing Tong, visiting One Tree Hill view point and the scenic Naung Tong Lake. Overnight in Kyaing Tong.
Day 15: Hill Tribes of Kyaing Tong
Start the day off exploring the colorful Kyaing Tong market and enjoy a full day excursion to the surrounding hill tribe villages. Visit an animist Palaung village whose tribe is amongst the oldest inhabitants of Myanmar. We visit the 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. Overnight in Kyaing Tong.
Day 16: Kyaing Tong - Fly to Rangoon
After early breakfast, drive to Loi-mwe, a former station from British colonial times. Enjoy lunch at a simple local restaurant before our transfer to the airport for our domestic flight to Rangoon. Upon arrival, transfer to hotel. Overnight in Rangoon (Yangon).
Day 17: Explore Rangoon (Yangon)
After breakfast, 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 excellent opportunity to observe how the local people live. We return to Rangoon and 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. After lunch, we drive to Rangoon Central Station and take a city circular train to Hledan Station. Enjoy your farewell dinner in Rangoon. Overnight in Rangoon (Yangon).
Day 18: Departure
After breakfast, you have free time until your transfer to Rangoon Airport for your departure flight.
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