Arrive in Yangon and transfer to hotel. Yangon, formerly known as Rangoon, is still a relatively quiet and charming city. Its impressive colonial and spiritual heritage makes Yangon one of the most fascinating and authentic capitals of South-East Asia. After lunch, a city tour includes the National Museum, Kyaukhtatgyi Pagoda’s 70m long reclining Buddha, downtown Yangon with its faded colonial atmosphere, Sule Pagoda, Mahabandoola Park, India town and bustling China town.
Overnight in Yangon.
After breakfast at the hotel, transfer to Yangon’s Mingaladon Airport for the flight to Mandalay. On arrival, a sightseeing tour of Mandalay, Myanmar’s cultural capital, features Mahamuni Pagoda, famous for its venerable statue of Buddha covered with gold leaf. Mandalay has long been known as a centre of skilled craftsmanship and in former times supplied the royal courts. A tour of traditional workshops includes crafts such as woodcarving, marble masonry, Kalaga tapestry and gold-leaf making. After lunch visit to Mandalay Palace, Kuthodaw Pagoda with its 729 marble stone slabs of Buddhist scriptures (known as the world’s biggest book) and Shwenandaw Monastery, noted for its exquisite woodcarving. Enjoy the sunset from Mandalay Hill.
Overnight in Mandalay.
After breakfast at the hotel departure for a full day trip to the former capitals of Amarapura, Ava and Sagaing. The day begins with a visit to the 18th century capital, Amarapura where the country’s largest monastery, Mahaganda Yon Monastery, is located. Continue to the 200 year-old U Bein Bridge, constructed entirely from teak and a silk weaving workshop. Proceed to Ava, the capital from 14th to 18th centuries and visit by horse and carriage the old wooden Bagaya Monastery and the remains of the Royal Palace and fort. Lunch on the way. In the afternoon cross the bridge over the Irrawaddy River and continue to Sagaing. Covered with 600 white-painted pagodas and monasteries, Sagaing Hill is widely regarded as the religious centre of Myanmar and is home to 3,000 monks and 100 meditation centers.
Overnight in Mandalay.
After breakfast at the hotel, transfer to the jetty for a boat trip to Bagan. As it sails southwards, the riverboat passes many villages offering a glimpse into the way of life along the Irrawaddy River. Arrive in Bagan late in the afternoon. On the dry plain of central Myanmar by the banks of the Irrawaddy River stands Bagan, one of the most remarkable archaeological sites in Asia. The 230 years, from 11th to 13th centuries, when Bagan was the capital of Myanmar, were marked by a religious favorite and building frenzy resulting in the thousands of stupas and temples many of which are still standing today. Overnight in Bagan.
After breakfast, morning sightseeing of Bagan features the colourful Nyaung Oo Market, the Shwezigon Pagoda and its magnificent golden stupa, Wetkyi-In Gubyaukgyi, a cave temple with exquisite jatakas murals paintings and the elegant Htilominlo Temple noted for its fine plaster carvings and glazed sandstone decorations. In the afternoon observe the process of traditional lacquerware, one of Myanmar’s best-known handicrafts and a specialty of Bagan. Visit Ananda, an architectural masterpiece of the early-style temple with four impressive standing Buddha images, Ananda Okkyaung, one of the few surviving brick monasteries from the early Bagan period and Thatbyinnyu the highest temple in Bagan rising to 61m. End the day with a horse and carriage tour among the temples passing by the traditional village of Taungbi, Sulamani Temple and the massive Dhammayangyi Temple noted for its remarkable brickwork. Enjoy sunset over the site from the upper terrace of Myauk Guni Temple. Overnight in Bagan.
After breakfast at the hotel, proceed to Myinkaba village and observe the process of traditional lacquer ware, one of the best-known Myanmar handicraft and a specialty of Bagan. Visit the monuments of Myinkaba village, Gubyaukkhi, an early period Pyu-style temple of Hindu influence with some of the oldest mural paintings in Bagan, Manuha and Nanpaya temples. In the afternoon, enjoy an excursion to the countryside village of Minnanthu, the least visited temple area in Bagan. Observe the local farmers‘ way of life together with a visit to some of the most interesting temples such as Payathonzu, with its unusual architecture and Tantric Buddhism influence, Lemyethna and Nandamannya temples. Enjoy the sunset from the top of Bu Phaya (or) Shwesandaw Pagoda.
Overnight in Bagan.
After breakfast at the hotel transfer to Nyaung U Airport for the flight to Heho. From Heho, enjoy a scenic drive to Inle Lake, one of Myanmar’s best-known sights. The Intha people, a tribe of Mon descent, mostly inhabit the lakeshores and floating villages. On arrival at Nyaung Shwe village, transfer by boat to start a sightseeing tour of Inle Lake including a chance to see the leg-rowing fishermen. Continue to see the floating gardens, built up from strips of water hyacinth and mud and anchored to the bottom with bamboo poles. There are also floating villages like Ywama, the lake’s downtown, where a floating market is held every five days. In the afternoon continue to Phaung Daw Oo Pagoda, the weaving village of Inpawkhon and the jumping cat monastery. Check into hotel in the afternoon.
Overnight at Inle Lake.
After breakfast, visit In Dein in the south of the lake by motor boat. From the middle of the lake, continue down a small canal leading to the village of In Dein, a recently opened area in Shan State. After a walk around the village, passing a local school, take the covered stairway to the beautiful Alaung Sitthou area where ancient stupas are partly covered by vegetation. From here there is a magnificent view over the lake. Continue visits of the lake by boat and in the afternoon transfer to Heho Airport for the flight back to Yangon. On arrival, transfer to hotel.
Overnight in Yangon.
After breakfast finish the tour with a visit to Myanmar’s holiest monument, the Shwedagon Pagoda with its golden stupa covered with 60 tons of pure gold leaf. In the afternoon there is free time for shopping at Bogyoke Market, formerly Scott’s Market, before transferring to Airport for onward flight.