Upon arrival at Yangon International Airport, you will be picked up & transferred to the downtown by our tour guide & driver. Yangon is the largest city of Myanmar & perhaps the best preserved example of a European colonial capital in Southeast Asia. Enjoy a half day city tour including the SULE PAGODA which is well-known for its octagonal- shape. The pagoda is said to enshrine a hair of the Buddha. Next, visit KANDAWGYI LAKE, one of two major lakes in Yangon, located east of the Shwedagon Pagoda. The lake is best known for its karaweik (at its southeastern tip), a replica of a traditional Burmese royal boat. After that, visit BOGYOKE AUNG SAN MARKET (Scott Market) which is known for its handicrafts, clothing and fabrics. Then visit the SHWEDAGON PAGODA. No visit to Myanmar is complete without a visit to this 2,500 pagoda since it is the most sacred and impressive Buddhist site for the people of the union of Myanmar & one of the wonders of the religious world. It is covered with hundreds of gold plates and the top of the stupa is encrusted with 4531 diamonds.
Remarks: If your flight arrives in Yangon in late afternoon. Only Airport pick up and transfer to the hotel activities in Day 1. All other activities will move to 2nd Day. It meant, you will not miss any activities of the Tour.
After breakfast at hotel, transfer to the airport for the flight to Bagan, the ancient city with more than 2000 pagodas and temples. On arrival in Bagan, pick up from the airport & then visit SHWEZIGON PAYA (pagoda, stupa or zedi), one of the most significant religious buildings in Myanmar. It is a prototype for later stupas built throughout the country and marked an important development in the relationship between traditional Burmese religion and Theravada Buddhism. The pagoda is believed to enshrine a bone and tooth of Gautama Buddha. Proceed to GUBYAUKHYI TEMPLE at Wetkyi-Inn. This temple with its impressive architecture was built in the early 13th century and has great colourful painting about the previous life of Buddha. Next, visit Ananda Pahto, one of the finest, largest & best preserved of the Bagan temples. Continue to GUBYAUKGYI TEMPLE at Myinkaba. It was built in 1113 by Kyansittha’s son Rajakumar, on his father’s death. The inner sanctum is decorated with frescoes, which have been restored. Under each painting is an account, in ancient Mon script, of the tale it depicts. After that, visit the MANUHA TEMPLE enshrining the unusual combination of 3 seated and one reclining image Buddha. Then visit the stunning SHWESANDAW PAYA. It is not only Pyay’s major point of interest, but also one of the country’s biggest Buddhist pilgrimage sites. Just over 3 feet taller than the main zedi at Yangon’s Shwedagon, the Shwesandaw stupa follows the classic Burmese design seen at Bagan’s Shwezigon.
End of the day with a visit to one of the LACQUERWARE WORKSHOP in the villages around Bagan to learn about the painstaking process of lacquer ware making and decoration.
Today enjoy a day trip to Mount Popa which is about 50km away from Bagan. A two to 3 hour hike up to the peak will reward you with a spectacular view. If the weather is clear you might even spot the temples of Bagan. Mt Popa’s spiritual importance is expressed by the many golden stupas along the way and on top of the crater rim. The flanks of the volcano are covered by dense vegetation, a paradise for bird watchers and botanists. You can also observe many curious monkeys on the way to the top. The upper third of the climb is bare and it can get very hot even in December / January. On top there is a stunning must-see Buddhist monastery with shrines for the 37 nats and a spectacular view over the region, accessible by taking 777 steps.
Continue and explore the local life in the unspoiled Burmese town Salay, the oldest surviving wooden monastery, with beautiful carvings of court life and scenes from the Ramayana. Then visit the market and the Thar Ta Na Yaung Chi monastery, which also serves as orphanage.
After breakfast at hotel, transfer to the airport for the flight to Mandalay, the second largest city in Burma. On arrival, drive straight to AMARAPURA and visit MAHAGANDAYON MONASTERY where you will see the monks and novices lining up to receive their daily offering of alms and food from faithful Buddhists at mid-morning. Next, head to SAGAING, a religious and monastic center, with numerous Buddhist monasteries. Visit some of the most famous temples including TUPAYON PAYA and HSINMYASHIN PAYA, the Pagoda of many Elephants. Cross the Irrawaddy River by ferry to INWA. Take a leisurely horse-cart ride around the peaceful countryside to visit BAGAYA KYAUNG monastery, MAHA AUNGME BOZAN KYANG and NAN MYINT TOWER. En route, stop and explore how local artisans make the alms bowls out of iron. Then return to AMARAPURA. Visit the U BEIN’S BRIDGE, which is believed to be the oldest and longest teakwood bridge in the world.
Today we continue the tour to MAHAMUNI PAYA, the most important Buddhist site in the city. Mahamuni Paya is a large complex south of the centre. At the heart of the pagoda is a 3.8 metre-tall Buddha figure. Male devotees visit to apply gold leaf to the figure; women are not allowed within the inner area and instead hand their gold leaf to a male assistant. The figure itself is said to weigh six tones and the gold leaf covering it adds another two tones. At 4 am each day crowds gather while the face, pretty much the only part not covered in gold leaf, is washed. If you can get up in time then it’s fascinating to witness.
After that, head to SHWENANDAW KYAUNG Temple, a grand example of 19th century Burmese teak architecture, and the most significant of Mandalay’s historic buildings. Next, visit KYAUKAWGYI PAYA, the pagoda of the “Great Marble Image,” situated near the southern entry to Mandalay Hill. Continue to the elegant SANDAMANI PAYA Pagoda. The primary attraction of this place must be the 1774 marble slabs; all inscribed with commentaries on the Tripitaka, which sre the Buddhist religious writings. Then visit KUTHODAW PAYA which is also known as the world’s biggest book. In the afternoon, take a boat ride away from Mandalay, along the Ayeyarwady River to the little town of MINGUN. The main attraction of Mingun is the ruined Mingun Paya, an functioning Buddhist temple with the remains of a massive stupa begun by King Bodawpaya in 1790. The temple was not completed, due to an astronomer claiming that, once the temple was finished, the King would die. You will also have chance to wander all over the village and explore the daily life of the local people. Then turn back to hotel by boat.
In the morning leave Mandalay for Kalaw, an old hill station with a laid back atmosphere, refreshing climate and scenic views. Many of Kalaw’s original colonial-era buildings remain, and it is also known as Myanmar’s trekking mecca.
After breakfast at hotel, we head up a hill to THEIN TAUNG PAYA Temple for some pretty fantastic views of Kalaw below. Next, walk pass AUNG CHANG THA ZEDI, a glittering stupa covered in gold- and silver-coloured glass mosaics. Continue to the DHAMMA YON two-storey temple and its nice views of the town, Dhamma Yanthi Paya and the ruins of the Hsu Taung Pye Paya. After that, visit HSU TAUNG PYE PAYA and NEE PAYA with its gold lacquered bamboo Buddha. Visit the CHRIST THE KING CHURCH, a brick Catholic Church under the supervision of the Burmese Father Paul, and the Italian Father Angelo Di Meo, who have been in Myanmar since 1931. Trek to the villages inhabited by people of the Palaung and Pao tribes in the surrounding plateau before journey depart from Kalaw to Inle Lake by car and boat.
After breakfast at hotel, enjoy a morning boat cruise on Inle Lake, the second largest lake in Myanmar which contains a number of endemic species. You will have chance to enjoy the spectacular scenery & see the Intha fishermen rowing flat-ended canoes with one leg while using both hands to fish. Visit the floating gardens bursting with tomatoes, beans and other products. After that, visit a colourful market and an Intha village around the lake. Continue to Phaung Daw Oo Pagoda, an important religious site in the Shan State, INN PAW KHON VILLAGE & NGA PHE KYAUNG MONASTERY. Then transfer to Heho Airport for the flight to Yangon. On arrival in Yangon, pick up & transfer to hotel for check in.