MYANMAR

Classic Myanmar

10 days

A visit to one of Asia's most popular archaeological destinations, a 13th century 'cave temple' with interesting fine frescoes, the world's longest teakwood bridge, and a visit to the famous Scott Market built in 1926 are just some of the experiences on this classic 10-day journey through the best of Myanmar. In addition to the physical trip - on planes, boats and via road you will experience travel through time as you get a glimpse into the diverse history of this amazing country. An extinct volcano, a school for young monks, sidewalk markets and traditional handcrafts add to the rich tapestry of your journey from Yangon to Heho, Inle Lake, Bagan and Mandalay.

Day 1: YANGON

You will be met at Yangon international airport and transfer to your hotel. After checking in the rest of the day is free for you to relax.

Day 2: YANGON

Today your sightseeing tour in Yangon will include the beautiful Kandawgyi Lake and Botataung Pagoda, which you can walk through as it is hollow. You will also see many ancient relics and artefacts along with visiting the Yangon downtown area, from where we walk along Pansodan Street which has many large colonial buildings that are still in use. It is also interesting to see the footpath markets including those selling old books and magazines dated from the 1960s up to the present. Continue to the famous Scott Market, a sprawling complex built in 1926 and noted for its variety of handicrafts and other items. In the late afternoon go to Chinatown where we can see interesting and exotic products for sale at markets and also see some small Chinese temples.

Day 3: YANGON - HEHO - INLE LAKE

This morning enjoy a sightseeing tour which includes visiting the colossal reclining Buddha Chaukhtatkyi, and then taking in the awe-inspiring Shwedagon Pagoda which towers over all of Yangon. It is perhaps the most beautiful pagoda complex in all of Asia and is one sight that no visitor to Myanmar should miss. After sightseeing, transfer to the airport to take a flight to Heho. Arrive at Heho airport and drive to the magical Inle Lake, which is located about 900 metres above sea level. At the lake, which is 22 kilometres long and 11 kilometers wide, you will go to Nyaung Shwe jetty - the gateway to the lake - and be transferred to your hotel by long tailed boat.

Day 4: INLE LAKE

Today we start our Inle Lake sightseeing with a visit to Indain and its enchanting 17th century pagodas. To reach Indain and the nearby village we will take a boat ride up a small scenic creek that runs into Inle Lake. Our sightseeing by long tailed boat to Innpawkhone Village will allow us to see lotus and silk weaving industries. Next visit Nanpan to see the traditional boat making and cheroot (Burmese cigar) making factory. Then continue our visit to Phaungdaw U Pagoda. If we have time we will take a short visit to Leshae Village where you can see the making of Buddhas image from dried flower powder. Later visit Nga Phae Chaung monastery and floating gardens.

Day 5: INLE LAKE - HEHO - KALAW - BAGAN

After breakfast you are taken to Shwe Nyaung railway station to take a local train to Heho. Our car will follow and pick us up at the Heho station and continue the drive to Kalaw, which sits high on the western edge of the Shan Plateau and was a popular hill station in the British times. It is still a peaceful and quiet place with an atmosphere remnant of the colonial era. Our sightseeing in Kalaw includes Nee Paya, a gold lacquered bamboo Buddha. After this visit you return to Heho where you take a flight to Bagan where you will spend the night.

Day 6: BAGAN

Today we start our sightseeing tour of one of Asia's most popular archaeological destinations with a visit to the busy Nyaung Oo Market. Afterwards we visit Bagan's distinctive pagodas such as Shwezigon, a prototype of later Myanmar stupas; Wetkyi-in- Gubyaukgyi, a 13th century 'cave temple' with interesting fine frescoes; Ananda Pagoda, one of the finest, largest and best persevered in Old Bagan; Ananda Ok Kyaung, one of the few surviving brick monastery buildings from the Early Bagan period; and Htilominlo Temple which is known to be the last Myanmar-style temple built in Bagan. In the afternoon there's an optional visit to a lacquerware factory. We will also visit Dhammayangyi Pahto, a massive later period temple with the finest brickwork in Bagan.

Day 7: BAGAN

This morning we drive to Salay, a small quiet town with interesting monasteries and pagodas. We then drive to nearby Mt Popa, an extinct volcano renowned as the home of the 'nats' or spirits. Return to Bagan in the afternoon stopping to see a local toddy palm farm on the way.

Day 8: BAGAN - MANDALAY

After breakfast transfer to the airport to take a flight to Mandalay. Here you will travel to the ancient royal capital of Amarapura and visit the Mahagandayon monastery, which is a school for young monks, and the nearby U Bein bridge. The bridge is more than two centuries old and, at 1.2 kilometres, is the longest teakwood span in the world. Afterwards we continue our visit to another former royal capital, Inwa, which was founded in 1364 and lasted nearly 400 years as a royal capital. Highlights include the 'leaning tower of Ava', Maha Aungmye Bonzan, a brick-and-stucco monastery, and the elegant teakwood monastery Bagaya Kyaung.

Day 9: MANDALAY

Today take in the sights of Mandalay city including marble carving craftsmen; Shwenandaw Monastery, noted for its exquisite wood carvings; Kuthodaw Pagoda, renowned as the world's largest book for its 729 stone slabs containing the entire Buddhist scriptures and the revered Mahamuni pagoda.

Day 10: MANDALAY - YANGON

Fly to Yangon and depart.

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