This tour is packed with a wealth of information about Myanmar’s history and culture as well as its breath-taking natural attractions. It will captivate those of you who are interested in Yangon’s unique landscapes, culture and cuisine; Bagan, the famous ancient city that you can immerse yourself in the ambience of peaceful countryside and the legendary pagodas; and Yadanar Bon (Mandalay), Inwa (Ava), Amarapura and Sagaing, once the capitals of Myanmar; Kalaw, a serene hill town located to the west of Inle Lake; Pindaya Cave, the marvelous spectacle of thousands of Buddha images and finally, the majestic Inle Lake: everything Myanmar has to offer.
Upon arrival of Yangon International Airport (a.m arrival), your journey starts with a visit to the Chaukhtatgyi Pagoda, a magnificent reclining Buddha Image and Sule Pagoda, said to be as old as 2000 years, standing at the heart of the city as the central reference point from where all the major streets of Yangon radiate. The sightseeing includes Kandawgyi(Royal Lake),an oasis in the middle of the bustling city, where floats a large structure known as the Karaweik, modelled after a royal barge used by Burmese kings. The lake itself is a unique place for taking scenic pictures with Shwedagon Pagoda in the background. Complete a day tour in Yangon with an extended visit to one of the sacred landmarks of Myanmar, Shwedagon Pagoda. You will have a chance to walk round in 360 degree the golden stupa enshrining the Buddha’s sacred hairs. Overnight in Yangon.
Breakfast and check out from the hotel early. Transfer to the Domestic Airport terminal and fly toBagan, Myanmar’s first Empire founded in the 11 Century AD. Arrival in Bagan and start visiting the Nyaung U local market where colorful flowers and kinds of vegetable are up for sale. Proceed to the Shwezigon Pagoda, considered to be one of the oldest and built by King Anawrahta, who founded the First Myanmar Empire. Shwezigon is an important pilgrimage site for the local Buddhists as it enshrines a number of sacred Buddhist relics. Continue to the Wetkyi-In-Gubyaukgyi Temple, a temple famous for its artistic mural paintings and other ornamental artworks; Ananda Temple, believed to be Bagan’s holiest and most artistic temple. In the afternoon, visit Thatbyinnyu Temple, the highest temple in Bagan and Dhammayangyi Temple,the largest edifice in Bagan similar to a pyramid. You will also have the chance to sight Bagan’s famous handicraft of Lacquerware productions in Myinkaba village. Afterward, proceed to some more temples and pagodas including the Manuha Temple, built by a Mon king imprisoned in Bagan and Lawkananda Pagoda that sits on a hill overlooking the Ayeyarwaddy River.Complete the tour by enjoying sunset from atop a temple. Overnight in Bagan.
Breakfast and morning visit to Mt. Popa, 46 km away from south of Bagan, the core of an extinct volcano. Popa is the equivalent of Greece’s Mt Olympia since it is home to Myanmar’s most powerful nats (spirits). There you will climb a total of 777 steps along the stairway to reach the top of the Taungkalat (pedestal hill), sheer-sided volcanic plug,that sits 657 metre above sea level, and enjoy the scenic beauty of Mt Popa and the pleasant greenery. On the way back to Bagan, you will stop and explore how traditional cottage industry of toddy palm juice production is helping local people earn their living. In the afternoon, continue visiting further temples including Tayok Pye Temple in Min Nan Thu Village, Payathonzu and Nandamannya Temples (built in the 13th Century AD),famous for their excellent mural paintings. Overnight in Bagan.
This morning, you will be transferred to the airport for flight to Mandalay. Start visiting the Mahamuni Buddha Image, one of the most important religious sites for Buddhist pilgrims. After then, proceed to explore Mandalay’s traditional arts and crafts industries such as marble stone carving, wood carving and gold leaf making workshops. Then, visit the Shwe In Bin Monastery, typical Myanmar architecture made of teak wood and supported by 164 pillars. In the afternoon, visit Shwenandaw Kyaung (Golden Palace Monastery), a traditional wooden building, which was once a royal palace chamber. And proceed to Kuthodaw Pagoda, where “world’s biggest book”(2013 UNESCO registered World Heritage site)is on display in the form of 729 marble slabs on which the entire Buddhist canon is inscribed. Complete Mandalay tour with enjoying the sunset from a top the Mandalay Hill. Overnight in Mandalay.
Today, take a boat trip on the mighty Ayeyarwaddy River few kilometers upstream to Mingun,where you will visit the unfinished Mingun stupa; the Mingun Bell, the world’s largest ringing bell weighing 90 tonnes; and nearby Mya Thein Tan Pagoda, built by the crown prince in 1816 in a style different from most pagodas in Myanmar. Take by boat back to Mandalay. In the afternoon, visit Inwa (Ava), the ancient royal city of Myanmar kings. Ride a horse-cart to Bagaya Monastery, a teakwood structure with 267 big pillars built in 1834, which is a small monastic school now; to the Ava watch tower;the old palace compound before rounding up the visit to the Maha Aungmye Bonzan Monastery (Mae Nu Oak Kyaung), an impressive brick monastery built and donated by the chief queen of King Bagyidaw. Drive back to Mandalay and overnight.
Breakfast and a few minutes’ drive to Amarapura, 11 km south of Mandalay. First visit to U Bein Bridge, 1.2 km long teak footbridge, the longest of its kind in the world. Then proceed to Maha Ganayon Monastery, where more than one thousand monks are studying Buddhist scriptures,and where their daily life especially the rituals around having lunch is worth seeing. The traditional hand-weaving silk and cotton workshops are also the places of interest. Proceed to Sagaing, the 14th-Century royal abode just across by Sagaing Bridge from Mandalay, famous for its dozens of monasteries and nunneries located on Sagaing Hill, considered to be a holy place. Visit silversmith workshops and Kaungmudaw Pagoda, a giant dome shaped pagoda built in 16th century and Soon Oo Ponya Shin Pagoda,modelled after Bagan’s Shwezigon Pagoda, where the panoramic view of the surrounding areas can be seen. Drive back to Mandalay and overnight.
After breakfast, depart from Mandalay to Heho by plane, and ride to Kalaw, once a popular British hill station. Visit the 500-year-old Bamboo Buddha Image Monastery. And then, visit Kalaw railway station built during the colonial era, the Karen Baptist Church (1918 AD), the Kalaw Hotel (1903 AD), and complete Kalaw tour with enjoying the sunset from the Hill Top Villa hotel. Back to the hotel and overnight.
Breakfast and check out the hotel in the morning. Then depart from Kalaw to Pindaya by car along the road passing by beautiful landscapes filled with farmers’ cultivations. Arrival in Pindaya, a town famous for its giant natural limestone caves located 1515 meter above sea level, in which various sizes of over 8000 Buddha images are accommodated. After then, visit a local home to see the production of traditional bamboo umbrellas and Shan paper made from the fibres of the barks of mulberry trees. The local market and the town center are also nice places for visit. Overnight in Pindaya.
Depart from Pindaya to Inle Lake, located in Nyaungshwe Township. Stop by the Shwe Yan Pyay Wooden Monastery en route to Inle and look around the monastery adorned with oval-shaped wooden windows and how the novices are studying. Ride boats in Inle, 22-km-long/10-km-wide natural lake, surrounded by the mountains of the Shan Plateau.Stops in Inle include Phaungdawoo Pagoda, the most sacred shrines located in the lake;Inpawkhon village where silk is produced from fibres extracted from lotus flowers; local blacksmith and cheroot making workshops in Nanpun village; the Nga Hpe Chaung Monastery, an old wooden one,with a collection of antique Buddha images. It was formerly famous for the jumping cats. During this excursion, you can see leg rowers, fishermen, flooding gardens and flooding market in Inle Lake. Boat ride to hotel on the lake.
This day’s lake visit starts with a local market. After then, a boat journey out to Indein village about 15 minutes on a small creek stretching from the lake westward. Reach Indein Pagoda and walk through 403 pillars of the Pagoda’s long corridor to visit the 11th-Century pagodas built with Shan architectural designs. In the afternoon, proceed to visit local silversmith workshops in Ywama village. Complete the day with explorations of the lake people’s lifestyle: Floating Islands and gardens made from the naturally tangled roosts water hyacinth plants and reeds, and fishermen who balance and row with one leg, fishing style of the local lake people called “Intha”.
After breakfast, check out and leave the hotel. Boat transport to Nyaungshwe. Travel to Heho Airport by car to fly back to Yangon.
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