MYA - T 06: MYANMAR CLASSIC, 6 days (L)
Day 1 Yangon
Arrival at Yangon airport, meet on arrival and transfer to the hotel. Your journey begins with sightseeing in Yangon: visit Sule Pagoda - the 48-meter high golden dome and after a photo stop at the floating barge (Karaweik Hall) on Kandawgyi (Royal) Lake. Afternoon, stroll through the Bogyoke Aung San Market with hundreds of food, clothes, handicrafts and gems stores. Complete your first day in Myanmar with an extended visit to one of the world’s most spectacular monuments the Shwedagon Pagoda and watch the effects of the setting sun before transfer back to the hotel.
Overnight in Yangon
SULE PAGODA: the British used this 48-meter high golden dome as the nucleus of their grid pattern for the city when it was rebuilt in the 1880s. The pagoda's peculiarity is its octagonal-shaped stupa, which retains its shape as it tapers to the spire.
KANDAWGYI LAKE: also known as the Royal Lake, this natural body of water located in the city center is a good place for strolling and picnicking. The lake is attractive at sunset when the glittering Shwedagon pagoda is reflected in its calm waters.
BOGYOKE AUNG SAN MARKET: also known as Scott Market, this building contains over 2000 stalls and is the best place in Yangon to browse through the complete range of local handicrafts.
SHWEDAGON PAGODA: the highlight of any visit to Yangon, this pagoda dates back about 2500 years and was built to house eight sacred hairs of the Buddha. Its original shape has changed beyond all recognition over the centuries. Its bell-shaped superstructure, resting on a terraced base, is covered in about 60 tons of gold leaf, which is continuously being replaced.
Day 2 Yangon – Bagan
After breakfast at the hotel, transfer to the airport for domestic flight from Yangon to Bagan. Upon arrival, transfer to the hotel. After refreshment, continue the day with visit to the most significant pagodas and temples of Bagan including Ananda Pahto - one of the finest, largest, best preserved and most revered of the Bagan temples, Shwegugyi - smaller but elegant pahto is an example of the Middle period, Thatbyinnyu Pahto - this 'Omniscient' temple is one of the tallest in Bagan, Pahtothamya - was build by King Anawrahta who carted off some 30 elephant-loads of Buddhist scriptures and built this library to house them in 1058, Nathlaung Kyaung - Bagan's only Hindu Vaishnavite temple probably built in the 10th century, Gawdawpalin Pahto - one of the largest and most imposing of the Bagan temples. The name literally means Platform to which Homage is Paid. Visit the oldest cylindrical Pyu-style stupa Bupaya, which is located on the bank of the Irrawaddy and watch the sun set over Bagan.
Overnight in Bagan
BAGAN is a spectacular plain stretching away from the Irrawaddy River, dotted with thousands of 800-year old temple ruins. Although human habitation at Bagan dates back almost to the beginning of the Christian era, Bagan only entered its golden period with the conquest of Thaton in 1057 AD.
ANANDA PAHTO: one of the finest, largest, best preserved and most revered of the Bagan Temples. Thought to have been built around 1105 by King Kyanzittha, this perfectly proportioned temple heralds the stylistic end of the Early Bagan period and the beginning of the Middle period.
SHWEGUGYI: built by Alaungsithu in 1311, this smaller but elegant pahto is an example of the Middle period, a transition in architectural style from the dark and cloistered to the airy and light.
THATBYINNYU PAHTO: this 'Omniscient' temple is one of the tallest in Bagan, rising to 61m and built by Alaungsithu around the mid-12th century.
PITAKA TAIK: following the sacking of Thaton, King Anawrahta carted off some 30 elephant-loads of Buddhist scriptures and built this library to house them in 1058. The design follows the basic Early Bagan gu plan, perfect for the preservation of light-sensitive, palm-leaf scriptures.
NATHLAUNG KYAUNG: Bagan's only Hindu Vaishnavite temple probably built in the 10th century to serve Bagan's Indian community of merchants and craftsmen.
PAHTOTHAMYA: probably built during the reign of Kyanzittha (1084-1113), although it is popularly held to be one of the five temples built by the non-historical King Taunghthugyi (931-964). Painting remnants along the interior passages may rate as the earliest surviving murals in Bagan.
GAWDAWPALIN PAHTO: one of the largest and most imposing of the Bagan temples, it was mostly built during the reign of King Narapatisithu but was finished by his son, King Htilominlo. The name literally means Platform to which Homage is Paid.
BUPAYA: right on the bank of the Irrawaddy, this cylindrical Pyu-style stupa is said to be the oldest in Bagan. Local residents claim it dates to the 3rd century. The distinctively shaped bulbous stupa stands above rows of crenellated terraces.
Watch the sun set over Bagan
Day 3 Bagan – Mandalay
After breakfast, a 300 km drive (8 hours) by road will take you to Mandalay. En-route you will visit Mount Popa - an extinct volcano with spectacular views. Afternoon, the journey continues to Mandalay through varied agricultural landscapes and villages.
Overnight in Mandalay
MOUNT POPA: rising 737 meters from the flat surrounding Myingyan Plain, Mount Popa is said to be an extinct volcano last active 250,000 years ago. It is considered the abode of Myanmar's most powerful nats and, as such, is the most important nat worship center in the country.
Day 4 Mandalay
After breakfast, you will process to visit Maha Gandayon Monastery where more than a thousand monks live and study, if time permitting you will have the opportunity to observe the monks having their last meal of the day in the total silence, including the most revered religious monuments in Myanmar - Mahamuni Paya, visit Mandalay Palace and Shwe In Bin - a monastery was built by Chinese merchant, it is built of teak, has Burmese carved doors and paintings depicting General Prendergast negotiating with court ministers prior to King Thibaw's exile.
Afternoon, excursion to Sagaing to visit Thabyedan Fort - built by the Burmese as their final resistance against the British forces in the third Anglo-Burmese war in 1886, Kaungmudaw Paya - the most important temple in Sagaing, Tupayon Paya, Aungmyelawka Paya - built in 1783 on the site of his home before he became king. It is built of sandstone and based on Shwezigon Pagoda, Datpaungzu Paya and Pagoda of Many Elephants (Hsinmyashin Paya) before transfer back to the hotel.
Overnight in Mandalay
MAHAMUNI PAYA: originally built by King Bodaw Paya in 1784 when a road paved with bricks was constructed from his palace to the paya's eastern gate. The centerpiece of the shrine is the highly venerated Mahamuni image that was transported to Myanmar from Mrauk U in Rakhaing in 1784.
KYAUNG SHWE IN BIN: A Chinese merchant, U Set Shwin, married a local Burmese lady and with his newly acquired fortune built a monastery for his religious wife. It is built of teak, has Burmese carved doors and paintings depicting General Prendergast negotiating with court ministers prior to King Thibaw's exile.
SAGAING: located on the right bank of the Ayeyarwady River, it is widely regarded as the religious center of Myanmar. It is popularly known as 'Little Pagan' as the Sagaing ridge is crowded with around 600 pagodas and monasteries in which there are more than 3000 monks. There are also around 100 meditation centers in the area.
THABYEDAN FORT: fort built by the Burmese as their final resistance against the British forces in the third Anglo-Burmese war in 1886.
KAUNGHMUDAW PAYA: this is Sagaing's most important temple. It was built by King Thalun in 1636 and styled after a Ceylonese (Sri Lankan) pagoda in commemoration of the re-establishment of Ava as the royal capital.
TUPAYON PAYA: constructed by King Narapati of Inwa in 1444, Tupayon is of an unusual style for Myanmar: it consists of three circular stories each encircled by arched niches.
AUNGMYELAWKA PAYA: situated on the riverfront, this zedi was erected by Bodaw Paya in 1783 on the site of his home before he became king. It is built of sandstone and based on Shwezigon Pagoda.
DATPAUNGZU PAYA: a comparatively recent pagoda, which houses many relics from other older temples that were demolished when the railway was built through Sagaing.
HSINMYASHIN PAYA: built in 1429 and known as the Pagoda of Many Elephants because of the elephant statues stationed at each entrance-way.
Day 5 Mandalay
After breakfast, excursion to Mingun by vehicle and boat. Mingun is located a short distance upriver from Mandalay on the opposite bank of the Irrawaddy River. It is a pleasant trip and gives one a glimpse of river life fishing villages, bullock carts, cornfields, market boats, and laundering, visit the world’s largest bell and several temple along the way. Afternoon, continue excursion to Amarapura to visit Pahtodawgyi - built by King Bagyidaw in 1820, this well preserved pagoda stood outside the old city walls, Bagaya Monastery will fascinate you with an intriguing collection of Buddha Palace Ruins - the old palace of King Bagyidaw and King Bodawpaya who were both burnt here on the site of their 'tombs'. And on the way back to Mandalay visit 200-year-old U Bein teak bridge - built in 1782 at the time when Amanrapura was the Royal Capital statues before return to Mandalay.
Overnight in Mandalay
MINGUN PAYA: thousands of slaves and prisoners of war labored to build the massive stupa, beginning in 1790. Work halted in 1819 when Bodaw Paya died, leaving a brick base about a third of its intended height. The earthquake of 1938 damaged the stupa but there is still a lot to see.
PONDAW PAYA: 5-meter high working model of Mingun Paya. It gives a clear picture of just what Bodaw Paya intended to achieve with Mingun Paya.
MINGUN BELL: in 1808 Bodawpaya had a gigantic bell cast to go with the gigantic zedi. Weighing 90 tons, it is claimed to be the largest bell in the world.
HSINBYUME PAYA: built by King Bagyidaw in 1816, three years before he succeeded Bodawpaya as king, this stupa was constructed in memory of his senior wife, the Hsinbyume princess.
SETTAWYA PAYA: located close to the riverbank and upstream from the Pondaw Paya, this hollow, vaulted shrine has a footprint of the Buddha that was brought to Mingun by King Bodaw Paya.
AMARAPURA: the name means City of Immortality, but its period, as capital was brief. It was founded by Bodawpaya as his new capital in 1783, not long after he ascended the throne, on the advice of court astrologers. His grandson and successor, Bagyidaw, moved back to Ava in 1823. The four pagodas that marked the four corners of the city walls still remain, as well as the watchtower and treasury building.
PAHTODAWGYI: built by King Bagyidaw in 1820, this well preserved pagoda stood outside the old city walls. The lower terraces have marble slabs illustrating Jatakas (scenes from the Buddha's life).
BAGAYA KYAUNG: built when Bodawpaya moved the capital to Amarapura, it was destroyed by fire in 1821. It was rebuilt several times and it is now no longer a monastery, but houses a museum and library, of interest for its collection of palm-leaf manuscripts.
PALACE RUINS: little remains of the palace except for two masonry buildings - the treasury building and the old watchtower. King Bagyidaw and King Bodawpaya were both burnt here on the site of their 'tombs' and their ashes placed in velvet bags and thrown into the Irrawaddy River.
U BEIN'S BRIDGE: the shallow Taungthaman Lake is crossed by a long and rickety teak bridge, curved to withstand the wind and waves. During the dry season, the bridge crosses mostly dry land.
After breakfast at the hotel, your drive begins for Kalaw along the Mandalay-Yangon main road go through a narrow winding and bumpy road in some area into the Shan Hills.
Overnight in Kalaw
KALAW sits high on the western edge of the Shan Plateau. This was a popular hill station in the British days, and it’s still a peaceful and quite place with an atmosphere reminiscent of the colonial era.
Day 7 Kalaw - Pindaya - Inle Lake
After early breakfast, start your journey by road, north along Highway 41 past Aungban and the Danu villages of Pwehla and Ji-Chanzi in Shan State. The Aungban-Pindaya road is scenic and there are fields of dry-cultivated mountain rice along the way and potato fields where the tuber is grown in red mud mounds.
Visit Pindaya Caves - a unique site housing thousands of Buddha images placed there by pilgrims over the centuries and Shwe U Min Paya - a cluster of low stupas just below the ridge near the Pindaya Caves. Beginning on the full moon of Tabaung. Late afternoon, traveling to Inle Lake.
Overnight in Inle Lake.
PINDAYA CAVES: these caves are ensconced in a limestone ridge overlooking the lake. Inside the cavern there are more than 8000 Buddha images made from alabaster, teak, marble, brick, lacquer, and cement and are arranged in such a way as to form a labyrinth throughout the various cave chambers.
SHWE U MIN PAYA: this is a cluster of low stupas just below the ridge near the Pindaya Caves. Beginning on the full moon of Tabaung (February/March), Pindaya hosts a colorful pagoda festival at Shwe U Min.
Day 8 Inle Lake - Heho – Yangon
After breakfast, take a boat trip on the Inle Lake. Inle Lake located in Shan State. It is beautiful with very calm waters dotted with patches of floating vegetation and busy fishing canoes. High hills rim the lake on all sides. The lakes shore and islands bear 17 villages on stilts, mostly inhabited by the Intha people. Enjoy the spectacular scenery and observe the skilled fishermen using their “leg-rowing” technique to propel themselves around the lake. Visit a local market and an Intha village around the lake.
Afternoon, transfer to Heho airport for domestic flight from Heho to Yangon.
Upon arrival Yangon, transfer to the hotel and free time at leisure.
Overnight in Yangon
Day 9 Yangon
After breakfast at the hotel and free time at leisure before transfer to the airport for departure.
End of Services **Note: Itinerary subject to change due to flight schedules.