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.
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. Overnight in Bagan.
Today enjoy a day trip to Mount Popa which is about 50km away from Bagan. A two to three 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.