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Detailed Itinerary

On arrival to Yangon airport, you will be welcomed by your guide with a sign board and your name on it. Transfer to your hotel for check-in. After freshening up we will visit some of Yangon’s highlights; Chauk That Gyi pagoda to view its magnificent reclining Buddha, home museum dedicated of national hero Aung San. We take a short “trishaw” bicycle taxi ride through a local neighborhood off the beaten trails. At the root Singuttara hill we take a walk through lively streets filled with local fresh produce, and small shops making and selling all kinds of merchandise for Buddhist pilgrims.

We complete the day with a visit to one of the world’s most spectacular monuments, the Shwedagon Pagoda, a gold covered bell dome structure that dominates the city’s skyline. Legends state that the sacred hairs of the Buddha are enshrined here. The Shwedagon is an iconic symbol of the country, a sight not to be missed. As the sun dips down you have the opportunity to join candle lighting ceremony at the pagoda.

After breakfast at hotel we embark on a journey to explore Yangon highlights. Starting from colonial-style city center and one of the landmarks Sule Paya stupa – built over 2,000 years ago and being the focal point of numerous historical events in the city. We continue on foot to the quaint Yangon Old Quarter, built during the British Burma. Many charming historical buildings are still located here. During our walk through bustling market streets full of merchants and food stalls, we visit a local pharmacy and learn about Myanmar traditional medicine, and stop for a tea and snack at the Rangoon Tea House in the fashion of locals, and enjoy the sights and sounds of Yangon.

We continue to one of Asia’s architectural landmarks, the elegant Strand Hotel built by the Sarkies brothers. Inside, you can visit the River Art Gallery should you wish, where the works of some of the most famous and skilled Burmese artists are on display fitting of the grand surroundings. We continue to bustling Bogyoke (Scott) Market, where hundreds of gemstone, handicrafts, art, clothes and food stores are tucked in a maze of color (Please note that the market is closed on Mondays and on public holidays).

After lunch break transfer to Yangon airport for flight (1hr) to Nyaung U/ Bagan(cost not included).Upon arrival to Bagan airport transfer to hotel in Bagan. Time permitting you can enjoy sunset at one of the temples.(B)

After breakfast at hotel we begin our journey into the Ancient Kingdoms of Bagan. The Dhamayazeka Zedi is our first visit, providing panoramic views of the temple studded plains of Bagan. We continue to the Archaeological Museum and the gold gilded Swezigon Stupa, purported to contain a holy tooth relic of the Buddha. Not far from the stupa, the Myingaba Gu Byaukgyi Temple is a sight to behold, housing Bagan’s best preserved mural paintings of the Buddha’s Jataka re-incarnations.

Next, we learn how Bagan’s famous lacquer ware crafts are produced in Myingaba Village, and then visit Htilominlo Temple to learn how Burmese sand paintings are created. The day’s temple tour ends with a visit to the beautifully symmetric and majestic Ananda Temple with its four standing Buddha images that seem to gaze at the viewer with fixed serenity wherever the viewer stands. For sunset, a horse cart ride around the temples offers unparalleled photo opportunities of one of the richest archaeological treasures in Southeast Asia as the sun dips behind the temple ruins (weather permitting).

OPTIONAL ACTIVITY
Sunrise Hot Air Balloon Flight
Operated: Daily between October & mid-April, 5.30-8.00 or 8.30am

Imagine floating over thousand year old pagodas and the mighty Ayeyarwaddy River, as the sun rises slowly from the horizon over the misty fields and temples. The magic of Bagan has inspired visitors to Myanmar for centuries. One of the most remarkable sights in Asia, where ancient temples dot the landscape as far as the eye can see. The flight duration is approx. 45min to 1hr depending on wind and air currents and other local factors. Balloons team will pick you up from the hotel and transfer to the launch site. After briefing session, set off for the spectacular flight. Upon landing enjoy glass of champagne and light snack prior transfer back to your hotel.(B)

Today exploration will be with Electric Bikes that allow us to travel small back streets and lanes and visit some remote corners in Bagan and local villages. We continue the exploration of Bagan with visits to the Manuha Temple, built by the Mon king in the 1300s to represent his time in captivity under the Bagan king. Continuing to the Thanaka Museum and learn about the traditional uses of the fragrant thanaka paste.

A visit to the Nyaung U Market, the largest market in the Bagan region, gives us a glimpse into local life. We also see how cottage industries like brick making and are carried out with traditional methods.

During a visit to a Monastic School that provides free primary level education, we have the opportunity to interact with the school children. In the late afternoon, we transfer to the Ayeryarwaddy River for a private sunset cruise where views of the temple silhouettes and bustling shore can be accompanied by cocktails on board. (B)

Remark: E-bikes have small electric motor and don't require pedaling. They are very safe, fun and relaxing means to get around.

Full day to explore the countryside around Bagan. From your hotel drive to Mount Popa (46km, about 1hour), home to Myanmar's intriguing 'nats' (spirits). The 777 steps to the top of Mount Popa provide an energetic climb rewarded by fabulous views from the top.

In the afternoon, drive to the town of Kyaukpadaung and visit the local market before continuing to Salay. Visit Yokesone Monastery, built on 154 teak posts and known for its 130-year-old beautiful wooden carvings of the 'Jataka Tales' (stories from the Buddha's life) which decorate the outer walls. (The monastery is closed on Mondays, Tuesdays and public holidays).

Continue to Payathonzu, a complex of three brick shrines with mural paintings from the Bagan period, and see Man Paya - a large lacquer Buddha image, said to date from the 13th century. Return to Bagan through Chauk (53km, about 1hour), where you will see old Burma Oil installations ('nodding donkeys'), and the banks of the Ayeyarwady River.

We will also stop en-route at a family-run Toddy Shop to observe the process of making the rich and caramel-like toddy candies from the sap of the toddy palms. Arrive in Bagan and transfer to hotel. (B)

After breakfast at the hotel, we transfer to Bagan airport for a 30min flight to Mandalay (cost not included). Transfer 40km/1hr to Mandalay City where enjoy a morning stroll through the lively Zegyo in the heart of the city and making stops at Burmese snacks and “thanaka” (make up) stalls. We continue to the artisan quarters, where some of the oldest craftsmanship is showcased dating back to last kingdom of Myanmar. Observe the process of pounding gold leaf, detailing teak-wood carvings and embroidering Myanmar tapestry. We also see how bronze and marble Buddha statues are carved, cast and molded.

Next, we proceed to the highlights of Mandalay: the sacred Mahamuni Pagoda, housing one of the most significant Buddha images in the country, covered in several tons of gold leaf and the crown prize in long past wars between competing Myanmar kingdoms; the Golden Palace Monastery, the only surviving Royal Palace building in Mandalay, offering a glimpse of the original style and architecture of the Myanmar royals; and lastly, the Kuthodaw Pagoda, a compound housing Buddha’s teachings carved in the sacred Pali script on stone slabs and regarded as the world’s largest book in terms of surface area.

We end our day with sunset panoramic views over city skyline on Mandalay Hill, the highest point of the city. (B)

After breakfast at the hotel, we discover the ancient kingdoms of Myanmar near Mandalay, a short transfer to river jetty. Where our tour starts with 1-hour cruise across the mighty Ayeyarwaddy River (Irrawaddy) to Mingun village, known for its massive unfinished pagoda cracked by an earthquake in the 1800s; another attraction to see here is Mingun’s massive bronze bell, believed to be largest ringing bell in the world. Drive through small countryside road takes us to the Ancient Kingdom of Sagaing enjoy the magnificent views from the Sagaing Hills, overlooking the river and hill side covered with countless pagodas. Sagaing being one of the most important Buddhist centres in Myanmar we take the opportunity to visit a monastery or nunnery and learn about daily life to the devotees.

We continue to Ava (Inwa), the ancient capital of the Shan and Burmese Kingdoms for over four centuries and explore the small roads and ruins of Ava by horse cart. We end the day with a visit to another beautiful ancient capital city, Amarapura, famous for its weaving traditions and the Ubein Bridge, a simple yet strong teak structure that spans 1,2km over Taungtaman Lake. The bridge silhouetted by the setting sun is one of the most magical experiences in Myanmar and a photographer’s dream. (B)

Enjoy breakfast and then transfer to Mandalay airport for the 30min flight to Heho(cost not included), a quiet transit town with one of the few airport links in the beautiful hills of Shan State. On the way to Inle Lake, we stop at a local family’s house to see Shan umbrellas and paper making using traditional methods and fibres of the mulberry tree. Next, we take a 1-hour drive to Inle Lake that descends through the valley with views of the Shan mountains and rice paddy fields.

After checking into the hotel, we embark on afternoon explorations of Inle Lake, populated with floating islands and gardens made from the naturally tangled roots of water hyacinth plants and reeds. Delight in the picturesque sights of fishermen who balance and row with one leg, a technique indigenous to the Inn Thar minority group who do this only on Inle Lake. Visit the centuries old Nga Phe Kyaung monastery with beautiful Buddhas inside. (B)

After breakfast we journey out by boat, following the currents of a small river to reach the Inn Thein, a site that makes us feel as if we’ve stepped through a forgotten portal in time. To access the Inn Thein archeological site we walk through verdant bamboo groves that open up to a field covered with the ancient pagodas constructed over 1,000 years ago. Continue by foot or by boat along tree shaded creek to Sae Ma village for a visit to local school. Meet the teachers and students, for a hello before taking a boat back to Inle Lake.

Rest of the day is for lake explorations, learn how the floating islands and cultivations are shaped and tended, marvel at lotus thread and garments making in Inn Phaw Khone village, visit the Ywama village known for its silver smith traditions. Time permitting we can visit the Burmese Cats at Inn Thar Heritage House and end the day with scenic canoe ride propelled by leg rowers.(B)

In the morning we transfer to Nyauang Shwe town and to Mine Thauk village Red Mountain Estate to tour of the lush vineyard situated on the side of mountain. Taste some of Myanmar’s premiere wines, and observe the different aging methods completed in their cellar cave.

After lunch break in Nyaung Shwe we drive 1hr to Heho airport for afternoon flight to Yangon(cost not included). Upon arrival to Yangon transfer to hotel. Rest of the evening is free for relaxing & own Yangon explorations. (B)

Depart Yangon early in the morning for a journey by road to Kyaikhtiyo and the Golden Rock. The drive to Kyaikhtiyo Base Camp takes around 5 hours.

Upon arrival, head to a local restaurant for lunch (own account). Then, travel by local, open-air truck along a winding road (45 minutes) and be dropped off at the top, just a few minutes away from the Golden Rock. This huge boulder is covered by gold-leaf and delicately balanced on the edge of a cliff and considered to be one of Myanmar's most holy pilgrimage sites. The pagoda here is said to hold a hair of the Buddha, and Buddhists from across the country come to pay homage to it. (B)

Remark: The open truck only departs when it’s full of passenger.

After breakfast, return to the basecamp by open-air truck and begin the return journey back to Yangon. En route, stop to explore the mysterious 16th-century capital of the Mon-Kingdom. First, visit Shwe Thalyaung Temple for a look at the beautiful 55-meter long reclining Buddha. Then, visit a nearby Mon neighbourhood to experience the unique and quiet charm of rural Myanmar. Continue to the Mon-style Shwemawdaw Pagoda, one of the most venerated religious structures in Myanmar. Its 114-meter tall spire is even taller than the one at Shwedagon Pagoda. From here, take a 15-minute walk to nearby Hinthar Gone Pagoda. The walk passes by many monasteries and nunneries, providing a great opportunity to see the simple, peaceful lives of monks and nuns in this area.

At Hinthar Gone Pagoda there is an extravagant nat shrine with dozens of statues and offerings. Depending on the day, it may also be possible to witness a traditional nat dance. (Note: Schedule depends upon donor offering; can only be confirmed one day before arrival)
Next, visit Bago’s strangest, and some would say creepiest, sight. Nearby Kanbawzathadi Palace, the Snake Monastery is an important pilgrimage site where visitors come to see the 9-meter long, and reportedly century old, Burmese Python. The monastery is devoted to a Buddhist abbot who is believed to have been reborn as a python.

On the way back to Yangon, stop at the Allied War Cemetery near Htaukkyan. This beautiful, peaceful cemetery is the final resting place for over 27,000 Allied soldiers.(B)

After breakfast, transfer to Yangon Central Railway where you will take a train ride on the Circle Line. Opened in 1961, the train carries an estimated 15,000 to 20,000 people a day in a loop around the city. This is life the way the locals love it - a unique, fun and authentic experience. While waiting for the train, you can stroll around the interesting local market nearby to see the bustling local daily market scene. As the journey passes from station to station you have a great opportunity to observe the life of Yangon suburbanites. After 45-60 minute ride, disembark to visit a local market filled with street vendors and piles of colorful items. Explore the market and meet the curious and friendly locals. Transfer back by vehicle to Yangon and have lunch.

After lunc transfer to Nanthida Jetty to board a ferry across the river to Dala. The 15 minute ferry ride offers great views of the waterways as well as opportunity to interact with curios locals. Upon reaching Dala, take a
local tuk tuk through the town. Continue to a traditional family-run candle factory and a monastery to learn about monastic life in Myanmar. The monastery also serves as a community centre and is an important part of rural Burmese life. If time permits you will also visit The Chu Chu shop, workshop and gallery, making most beautiful recycled products. Return to Yangon by local ferry.(B)

Breakfast at hotel and free at leisure until transfer out to Yangon airport for your departure flight.(B)

Inclusions

- 13 nights shared Accommodation in twin/double room with daily breakfast
- All transfers and transportation with air-conditioned vehicles (types of vehicles depending on the number of pax):
o 1-2 pax: Saloon car or similar
- Local ENGLISH speaking station guides except during 4 days Irrawaddy river cruise
- All entrance fees as program
- Meals (B/L/D) (Breakfast/Lunch/Dinner) as indicated in the program.

Exclusions

- Airfares (international)
- Meals and Drinks (other than mentioned in the program)
- Visa to Myanmar
- Mineral water beyond that supplied
- Tips
- Early check in or late check out
- Insurances
- Optional excursions and activities
- Additional transfer required due to any emergency situation
- Items of a personal nature (Phone calls, laundry, beverages…)
- Peak season surcharges if any
- All not mentioned above

Notes

Surcharge for the domestic airfare will be added at the time of booking

OPTIONAL ACTIVITY - Sunrise Hot Air Balloon Flight (cost is available on request)
Operated: Daily between October & mid-April, 5.30-8.00 or 8.30am

No early check in or late checkout is included except those indicated in the program.

Generally, the check in time is 14.00 pm and check out time is 12.00 pm.

Visa into Myanmar is required except for countries who have signed the visa exemption contracts.

Remarks: Passport must be valid 6 months ahead since the time of departing the visited country

Compulsory dinners on Dec 24th (Christmas), Dec 31st (New Year) or Myanmar New Year will be advised at time of booking.

Hotel List

3* Hotels

City Hotel Room Type
Yangon Hotel Shwe Yee Superior
Bagan Royal Aykare Lodge Superior
Mandalay Nwe Waddy Hotel Superior
Inle Lake Inle Garden Hotel Villa
Golden Rock Golden Sunrise Hotel Deluxe

4* Hotels

City Hotel Room Type
Yangon Rose Garden Hotel Superior
Bagan Amata Garden ResortBagan Amata Deluxe
Mandalay Eastern Palace Hotel Deluxe
Inle Lake Amata Garden Inle Resort Deluxe
Golden Rock Mountain Top Hotel Deluxe

5* Hotels

City Hotel Room Type
Yangon The Strand Hotel Superior Suite
Bagan Aureum Palace Hotel & Resort Jasmine/Orchid Villa Lake View
Mandalay Mercure Mandalay Hill Resort Superior
Inle Lake Inle Princess Resort Lake Houses
Golden Rock Mountain Top Hotel Super Deluxe

Trip Highlights

Yangon - Bagan - Mount Popa - Inle Lake - Golden Rock - Yangon

Departure Period

01 Apr, 2020 to 30 Sep, 2020
AUD 2,305 P P twin share
AUD 2,872 P P single

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