Day 1, Yangon Arrival Day and Yangon Site-seeing
Upon arrival at airport, after luggage collection, you will be welcome by local tour guide. Depending on the arrival time, these visits can be included; Downtown Area with the Old City Hall and take a stroll along Colonial Buildings ending at the old Strand Hotel, the adjacent Australian Embassy, Her Majesty British Embassy, and Red-bricked General Post Office, Mawtin Jetty to enjoy the riverside activities, Kandawgyi Park to relax, Chaukhtetgyi Reclining Buddha image which is the biggest one in Yangon, and evening visit to the most significant pagoda, Shwedagon, which the global scholars describe as One of Wonders In The World. Shwedagon plays very important role in the Old Burmese History not only standing as the holiest structure for the Buddhist all over the world. Enjoy the sunset from nearly 26-century years old Most Glorious Buddhist Shrine.
Overnight in Yangon.
Day 2, Yangon-Mandalay-Amarapura-Mandalay
After breakfast, drive the Yangon airport for the flight to Mandalay, the last Capital City of the 3rd Myanmar Dynasty. On arrival at Mandalay International Airport, drive to Amarapura aka the Southern City, the ancient Royal Capital before Mandalay. In Amarapura, visit one of the biggest monasteries with more than 1200 Buddhist monks where under the strict tight-scheduled Rules the monks study very hard the Buddhist Canons day and night in order to be able to carry on the Buddaâ€™s teachings verbally like the Noble Theras did after the Buddhaâ€™s demise in the 6th Century B.C. Then visit the Silk-Weaving workshop. Here, Amarapura hand-weaving silk Designs are very famous as Lun Yar Kyaw Cheik, More-than-hundred Loom Design, in which many small colorful silk thread looms wave through the weft creating the unique Myanmar Ceremonial silk longyis. Depending on the designs, to finish a longyi with a hundred or so looms, it can take at least a month! Then drive to U Bein Bridge believed to be the longest wooden bridge in the world that spans Taung Thaman Lake. Take a walk on the bridge and enjoy a photo opp!
Then drive to Mandalay, upon arrival check-in at the hotel and take a rest for a while. In the afternoon, visit Kuthodaw Pagoda which is known as the world biggest book of the world, Golden Palace Monastery where you can see the best wood-carvings. The monastery was at first in the Palace City wall and 5 years before the British Annexation, it was dismantled and reassembled to the present site to be donated to the venerable monks. The Golden Palace so called because the interior and exterior surfaces of wood structure have been gilt with millions of Gold Leaves that are fabricated in Mandalay. Finally, go up Mandalay Hill to enjoy the panoramic view of the city with sunset.
Overnight in Mandalay.
Day 3, Mandalay-Mingun-Ava-Mandalay
After breakfast, drive to Kywe Sun Jetty on the western bank of River Ayeyawaddy. Walk a little along the bank for photos. Then, take a private boat to visit a small village of Mingun . Visit Migun Stupa unfinished due to the mysterious beliefs of its builder. Then, visit Mingun Bell weighing over 90 Metric Tons that is believed to be the world heaviest hanging bell in the world. Just in front is the very first Home for Aged founded purely by a Burmese Lady. Meeting with the long-term nurse who speaks fair English at the Center of Old Age pays a lot. Finally visit Mya Thein Dan Pagoda which represents famous Mt. Meru according to Buddhist Cosmology. Getting on Mingun Taxis, that is, the Oxen-drawn Carts makes a visit to Minguy memorable! After that take the boat back to Mandalay.
In the afternoon, drive to Ava one of the Ancient Capital Cities around Mandalay. Explore the Ava Island in Horse-drawn Cart; in Ava visit Bagayar Monastery which is nearly 200 years old with amazing Teak Logs, Leaning Tower of Ava which is inside the then Royal Palace. Then Ava excursion will end with a visit to Mahaaungmyay Bonsan Brick Monastery. Then drive back to Mahamuni Buddha Image situated on the outskirts of Mandalay City highly venerated and adored by Mandalay Citizens. The Image is believed to have been here from Arakan State, another Kingdom in 18th Century situated at Western Coastal Line as a war trophy. As if all the gold leaves beaten in Mandalay came upon the image, Gold leaves offered by the worshippers form the lumps on the robe of Buddha. Then visit the Handicrafts Workshops such as Gold Leaf Beating, Stone Carvings, Bronze Casting, Marionette and Wood Carvings and so on. Mandalay having built as new Royal Capital City, the king gave plots for the Arts and Craftsmanship around the Palace City and so Mandalay has become the center of all of Myanmar Traditional Handicrafts.
Overnight in Mandalay
Day 4, Mandalay-Sagaing-Monywa
After breakfast, drive to Sagaing crossing over newly-opened bridge paralleling the first British-built Span side by side. Sagaing, the capital city of Sagaing Division, has been quite a few times Royal Capital and now stands as a Buddhist Center. Visit Sagaing Hills filled with Meditation Centers, Monasteries, and Nunneries. The view from the platform of Sun Oo Punya Shin Pagoda that takes the overwhelming hilltop is really breath-taking.
Then, drive to Monywa(approx; 3 hours), the second biggest city after Mandalay in the central Myanmar. Monywa is the major trade center whose surroundings are filled with the fertile fields yielding the best crops such as rice, beans, vegetables and also tobacco. One the way to the town, visit Thanbude Temple with its more than half million Buddha Images inside and outside of the main temple. Then drive to the jetty of Chindwin River which is the third longest river to take a ferry to the other side where an American Willy Jeep waits to carry you to Pho Win Taung Cave Pagodas. Walk all the way up the Sandstone Caves build from 16th to 19th century. Monkey food sellers will accompany you all the way of the loop. Then, drive back to Monywa, cross the river to the town and check-in at the hotel
Overnight in Monywa
Day 5, Monywa-Pakkoku-Bagan
After breakfast, visit Bodhi Tahtaung Buddhas so named after one-thousand Sitting Buddhas under a thousand Bo Trees. Then, visit the second largest Reclining Buddha and the tallest standing Buddha which measures 413 feet in height. Then drive to Pakkoku, on the way stop at Ma U village to feel the village life with home industries such as Bamboo Scales Making, Incense Stick and so on. Talk a walk among the 16th to 18th century Pagoda Complex nearby. You can also drop in at one of the pit-stops where you can see the Myanmar Traditional Cosmetic, Thanaka plantations. Continue driving to Pakkokku, which is known as the Tobacco Trade Center where you embark the private boat (approx; 2 and a half hours)to Ancient City, Bagan.
Hundreds of Ancient Stupas, Temples, Monestaries, Libraries and Buddhist Universities welcome you to the then Heart of Buddhism. On arrival at Jetty, get on your private van then drive to your hotel for Check-in.
Overnight in Bagan
Day 6, Bagan
After breakfast. drive to a temple to have a glimpse of Birdâ€™s eye view tasting a bit of its marvel. Then you may visit Nyaung U morning market which is known as Market On The Floor with a variety of local vegetables and products such as typical snacks, food, Handicrafts, Thanakha the most adorned Burmese Make-up, and so on. Then, visit the most sacred stupa Shwe Zi Gon built in 11 Century by the most outstanding Buddhist King, Anawrahta, Gu Byauk Gyi Temple to see the mural from 12 Century, the massive red-colored Htilominlo Temple, and lastly before check-in at the hotel, visit most beautiful Ananda Temple built in late 11 Century housing giant Standing Buddhas which give the viewers illusion of Smiling-or-Serious facial expression of the Enlightened One.
In the afternoon, a visit to famous Lacquer Wares Workshop is worth enough to see its hand-made black products that come in a variety of household items from the smallest one of tea-cup to the Giant Sun Oak, the food container to be sent to the Buddhist monasteries in the yester years. Then, drive to the jetty of Mighty Ayeyawaddy river to enjoy sunset by boat.
Overnight in Bagan.
Day 7, Bagan(by horse-cart+Bicycle)
After breakfast, mount a bicycle touring around in the monument zone taking the snap-shots here and there among the ruined temples occasionally climbing some climbable pagodas to have the different panoramic views. Meet with local Sand Paintings sellers, Lacquered Items hawkers, etc and learn the local culture.
Afternoon visit by horse-cart to a small village of Taung Phi in which a dilapidated teak-wood monastery awaits the visit of few lost tourists. The horse-cart will wind around more temples when the sun is sinking on the western horizon providing the century-old temples with its shade; the unforgettable memory of a visit to Ancient Bagan. Make some stops on the way to take your private National Geographic shots. Finally the horse will make an end at a temple for sunset. Enjoy peace and tranquility on the vast scope of temples scattered among the tropical palm trees, white-barked acacia, neems.
Overnight in Bagan.
Day 8, Bagan-Heho-Kalaw (Half-day Tribe Village Trekking)
After breakfast, drive back to Bagan and then transfer to Nyaung U Airport for the flight to Heho, Shan State. Upon arrival at Heho airport, drive to Kalaw (approx 1 and a hlaf) on the way stop at Aung Ban, stop at a local Market selling typical foods, wines, traditional handcrafts, and you may try Shan Noodles there at one of Myanmar Traditional Teashops. Besides those items, the small street market has Myanmar Orchids Selling stalls and fruits. Shan Dried Tea there is the best of Myanmar. Then, continue to Kalaw, a British Hill Station, a small town with ethnic minorities, such as Pa-O, Palaung, besides the Shan People. In the town, you can still feel the colonial atmosphere with the colonial buildings and the houses with the chimney indicate the weather of the lovely town which is over 1300 meters above sea-level. After check-in at the hotel and lunch, in the afternoon drive to the west of the town where you start your half-day Trekking to Palaung village of Pain Hgne Pin. Before, this tribal minority used to live in Wooden long houses for a big family. And now with the growing wealth on farming they demolished their typical long houses and use cement and Adobe bricks to construct the houses and for the roofing, corrugated iron instead of thatch grass. Visit a household in the village and your local trekking guide will introduce you to the tribe. In the afternoon, walk back to another meeting point where you will see your car and then transfer back to your hotel.
Overnight in Kalaw
Day 9, Kalaw-Pindaya-Nyaung Shwe-Inle Lake
After breakfast, drive to Pindaya(approx; 2 hours), a small peaceful town situated at the base of Shan Mountains and the end of very fertail plains. On the way to Pindaya from Aung Ban is really picturesque and you can make many stops for photographing and introducing to the local farmers working in their fields cultivating a variety of crops such as Sesame, Cabbage, Coliflower, Mustard Oil, Wheat and so on besides the perennial orchards like Mandarin Oranges and Tea. Upon arrival visit Paper Umbrella Cottage industry where you can see the Shan Paper production, Process of Umbrella Making only by hands. Then, drive up to Pindaya Lime-stone Natural Caves with more than 8000 Buddha Images. Get lost yourself in the cave taking pictures of most beautiful Shan Style Buddhas.
In the afternoon, drive to Nyaung Shwe (approx; 3 hours) another Shan town bordering famous Inle Lake on the northern end. On the way, you can visit Shwe Yan Pyay monastery built mainly of teak wood in 1882 and itâ€™s pagoda with colorful mosaics decorated on the interior walls around the central pagoda constructed 2 years before its adjacent monastery. Then continue to Nyaung Shwe where you embark on the long boat to reach your hotel at Inle Lake.
Overnight at Inle Lake
Day 10, Inle Lake-Indein-Inle Lake
Full-day Sight-seeings of Inle Lake, start with a morning 5-day traditional market at a village on the lake or on the shore of the lake. Here at Inle Lake, the markets come on 5-day basis. Besides the Inthars, some tribal ladies such as Pa-O, Pa Laung can also be seen at the market selling their farm produce and afterwards they go back to their villages on the mountain with the purchase of what they need for the household, a photo opportunity, Phaung Daw Oo pagoda which is the Holiest Religious Stupa housing 5 buddha images, Silk Weaving village (lotus fabrics weaving technique can also be seen unique only in here!), Blacksmith, Cheroot or Myanmar Cigar factory, the nature of Inthars, Lake Residents with their Floating Gardens and finally visit the Jumping Cat monastery which is the oldest one with antique Shan-style Buddhas and Buddhasâ€™ alters. Enjoy the cat show at the monastery.
In the afternoon, continue by boat to Indein Ruined Pagoda Complex along a small river that sustains Inle Lake by flowing into it. Passing the Large green Myanmar Bamboo forests on the way, you will reach the Ruined Indein pagodas that stand on the hill slope providing a panoramic view to the lake. A small trekking can also be arranged from the pagodas.
Overnight at Inle Lake
Day 11, Inle-Heho-Yangon
After breakfast, transfer by boat from your hotel to Nyaung Shwe and then the car will take you to Heho Airport for the flight back to Yangon.
In the afternoon, if the time permits, you can visit National Museum with the last Royal Lion Throne which was sent back by Lord Mt. Batten after Myanmar got her independence from British Imperialist in the year 1948, the Royal Regalias, Paintings of the best Artists from pre and post-independence era, Mawtin Jetty where you can see lots of riverside activities. Boats and ferries stop at the jetties with many workers transporting the goods from delta region such as rice(the best rice comes from the delta of Ayeyawaddy and it was the main reason that the British Ruler dug the 20-mile long Twante Canal for ferrying the rice up to the then Rangoon and then to Europe during their reign over Myanmar!), fish, fish sauce, coconut, charcoal and so on and loading the merchandise from Yangon such as liquor, beer, oil, onion etc. and this happens the whole day at the jetty. You can enjoy the sunset at the river-front.
Overnight in Yangon.
Day 12, Yangon(Departure Day)
Depending on your International Departure Flight time, visits in Yangon can be included; Scott Market which sells many Myanmar Traditional Handicrafts, namely, Pan Sai Myo, 10 kinds of flowers; Blacksmith, Goldsmith, Coppersmith, Stone Carvings, Wood Carvings, Lacquer Wares, and so on (Scott Market is off every Monday!). Visit the Colonial British Built Train Station and can enjoy the train ride on one of City Circling train(one-hour clockwise ride from the station to Insein Station is recommendable!)
Then transfer to Yangon International airport for the flight back.
End of Program organized by Ayuda Myanmar Travel & Tour Agency
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Ayuda Myanmar Travel Tour Agency