Welcome to Yangon (formerly Rangoon), the main international gateway of Myanmar. Although not being the capital city since 2006, Yangon has still been the heart and yet the soul of the country.
Upon arriving in Yangon, greetings and transfer to our hotel in town. Having some rest before setting off for the late afternoon visit, the Shwedagon Pagoda. This is one of the world's most spectacular monuments, its golden stupa is the 'heart' of Myanmar. The pagoda is believed 2,600 years old and the central stupa in surrounded by dozens of intricately decorated buildings and statues. There are always many Myanmar people praying and making offering at Pagoda. Visiting the pagoda during this time also helps us avoid the strong heat during the day time.
Leisure and overnight in Yangon.
Yangon is a city of smiles, pragmatic and generous people while retaining one of the most complete ensembles of colonial architecture in the world. This morning, we enjoy a walking tour around the Yangon Colonial area, exploring a mixture of colonial buildings churches, mosques (including Sunni and Shia) and Buddhist monastery and ordination hall. All of these does reflect the mixture of multiple religions in the city. We continue to one of Yangon highlights- Chauk Htat Gyi Pagoda to see a huge reclining Buddha image, Karaweik Royal Barge (A royal floating Barge on a lake for the fantastic photo view).
The afternoon visit is to the Bogyoke Aung San Market (formerly Scott's Market) where we will find many kinds of local food, clothing, handicrafts and gemstones.
Heading back to our hotel and leisure. Overnight in Yangon
Note: The famous the Bogyoke Aung San Market is closed every Monday and Gazette Holidays.
We board a morning flight to Heho in Shan State, the gateway to the picturesque Inle Lake, the second biggest freshwater lake in Myanmar.
Arriving in Heho, we proceed to Nyaungshwe jetty at the edge of the Inle Lake: famous for its unique leg rower. On the way, we visit "Shwe Yan Pyay", a beautiful red-painted teak building dated back to the 19th century. Upon arrival at Naung Shwe jetty, we start boat trip on Inle Lake - a photographer’s dream. Its calm waters are dotted with floating vegetation and fishing canoes, to which scenic hills provide the perfect backdrop. See the lake’s unique ‘leg rowers’ - Intha fishermen who row standing up with one leg wrapped around a single oar, leaving their hands free to manipulate the conical fishing net. Stop at Phaung Daw Oo Pagoda, the holiest religious site in southern Shan State. Visit a traditional silk-weaving workshop which uses wooden handlooms, and a blacksmith’s forge. Pass endless floating gardens, where Intha lake dwellers grow fruit and vegetables. Continue visiting Kyaik Taing Village by passing panoramic nature beauty of Inle lake. Lastly, visit Nga Phe Kyaung Monastery, one of the oldest on the lake, where we can see exquisite Buddha statues which are more than 200 years old. Transfer to hotel and leisure.
Overnight at hotel in the Inle Lake area.
After breakfast, we depart through Indein village to reach the 14th - 18th century pagoda ruins of Nyaung Ohak. A covered walkway popular explore a 5-day rotating market (if your visit coincides with the schedule) which offers an insight into the life of the ethnic Pa-O, Danu and Intha people who come to these markets to sell and buy goods. A long-tailed boat across the lake to Indein, at the western end of Inle, for one of the most scenic trips on the Lake. Passing through the busy village of Ywama, the largest on the Lake, with many channels and tall teak houses on stilts; enter a long, often tree-lined canal, either side of which farmers cultivate their land against the backdrop of the Shan Hills. Disembark at the jetty, enjoy a short walk that leads up to Shwe Inn Thein Paya, a complex of weather-beaten 17th - 18th century zedi; some newly reconstructed. Return back to Inle lake and enjoy the rest of day at leisure.
Overnight at hotel in the Inle Lake area.
After breakfast, we transfer Heho airport to board our morning flight to Bagan, an ancient city that locates on the eastern bank of the Ayeyarwady river. Bagan is formerly known as Pagan, used to be the capital city of the Pagan Kingdom from the 9th to the 13th century.
Upon arrival, we transfer to visit the Nyaung Oo Morning Market where locals gather every day to buy and sell everything from fresh produce and meats, flowers and pottery. The journey begins with a visit to an elevated temple with spectacular views over the surrounding plains. This is the perfect introduction to the grandeur and scope of Bagan’s architecture.The visits today aslo includes most of the significant pagodas and temples of Bagan such as the Shwezigon Pagoda, built by King Anawrahta in the early 11th as a religious shrine. Continue to Annada Temple: a whitewashed masterpiece of Mon architecture with four standing Buddhas and the adjacent brick monastery with the beautiful, well – preserved 18th century murals. The Dhamayangyi Temple, the most massive and the finest brick work of all, at the end of the view of the Temples stop at a lacquer factory, typical of the area of Bagan, where we can learn about the process. Transfer to hotel and leisure.
In the early evening, we enjoy a horse cart ride around the Bagan complex and watching extraordinary sunset over the plains.
Leisure and overnight in Bagan
Today, we drive to “Sat Sat Yo Village “ to explore of real Bagan typical Village, Sat Sat Yo village which a hidden village where we can discover forgotten topknot style of Myanmar children. Following, we set off for an hour drive to the National Park that surrounds the sacred mountain of Mount Popa. Along the drive, we can see the daily life of the locals as we pass through small villages. Water fetching, animal tending, farming and the production of edible oils are a part of the daily life for those living in this area. Some of the villages are known for the making of toddy or palm sugar. The opportunity to see how the palm sap is gathered in small pots hung high in the trees and then is heated in large pots to produce a smokey tasting and sweet palm sugar. Arrival to Mount Popa, the sacred home of the Nats or animalistic spirits, climb the 777 steps of the winding, covered walkway to the summit.
Upon getting back in Bagan, we proceed to Aye Yar Jetty and board a small local riverboat to enjoy a sunset cruise on the Irrawaddy River.
Leisure and overnight in Bagan.
We take a morning flight to Mandalay, the second largest city of Myanmar, embraced by the Ayeyarwady river. This city was capital city under Mindon – the last dynasty in Myanmar.
Upon arrival, we drive to Amarapura to visit U Bein Bridge for a walk along this 200 year-old teak bridge teak bridge built in 1782 when Amarapura was Royal Capital. The bridge was constructed of 984 teak posts that were once part of the deserted Inwa Palace. At 1.2 kilometers in length, it is the world’s longest teak span. Continue visit to Mahagandayon Monastery, a famous Buddhist monastery where more than a thousand monks live and study. If time permits, we will take an opportunity to observe the monks having their last meal of the day in total silence. Continue visiting the traditional hand – woven silk workshop.
After a short ferry ride, we reach the second ancient royal capital the island of Inwa, also known as Ava. We board on the charming horse-drawn carriages for a ride that passes through the remains of the ancient city walls to visit the brick and stucco Maha Aungmye Bonzan Monastery built in 1818. The ride also passes through the rural fields of the island then transferring to the beautiful Bargayar Monastery, also known as Ok Kyaung. This is an active monastery and school where we will explore its ornate woodcarvings and huge teak pillars. Our last visit here is the Nanmyint Watch Tower nicknamed the “Leaning Tower of Ava”, before returning to the ferry.
We check-in our hotel in Mandalay in the early evening.
Leisure and overnight in Mandalay.
This morning, we transfer to visit the beautiful teak-carved Shwenandaw Monastery or Golden Palace Monastery- which is noted for its intricate wood carvings, the only Royal Palace building to survive World War II bombing. We also visit the Kuthodaw Pagoda, home to ‘the world’s largest book’, a collection of more than 700 marble slabs inscribed with Buddhist teachings. After that, we visit the Mahamuni Pagoda, home to a spectacular Buddha image covered with thick layers of gold leaves. Make our quick stop at a local workshop to see how Kalaga tapestries being made, gold leaf being beaten into paper-thin pieces.
In the late afternoon, transfer to Mandalay International airport for our departure flight.----------- End of service ----------