Tour Duration : 12 days Tour Code : MD-021

This wonderful journey will take you right into the heart of a friendly land, where exceptional hospitality is guaranteed. Our adventure begins in the charming colonial city of Yangon (Rangoon), British colonial architecture but now, the main commercial city of Myanmar.

Hpa-An is the capital of Karen State, Myanmar. The picturesque Mt. Zwekapin is only 10 miles away. Ethnological Museum and Main Market are interesting places. It is worthy of seeing the village life of the different tribes of Kayin people along the bank of the river.

Explore the former capital Yangon (Rangoon), British colonial architecture and its environs exclusively with most outstanding historic and cultural highlights such as, Sule Pagoda, Botataung Pagoda, Chaukhtatgyi Reclining Buddha and famous Bogyoke (Scott) Market. Finish the day at the world largest and the most impressive Shwedagon Pagoda, and experience the spectacle of sunset over the golden heart of Myanmar and learn about the history and stories of Shwedagon Pagoda, and its special importance in Myanmar’s cultural and religious life.

Golden Rock, one of Myanmar’s most sacred pilgrimage sites. You Will climb along a small path, enjoying views across the surrounding area before witnessing this huge rock covered with gold leaf.

Bagan, the richest archeological sights in Asia and savoring the sunrise from the upper terrace of the temple is an experience not soon forgotten. Continuing to Mount Popa, we visit this famous Nat shrine and join the local pilgrims on a walk to the top. From the top there are amazing views of the plains of Bagan and distant hills.

Mandalay, the last royal capital – the culture center and ancient capital of AMARAPURA, a royal capital founded before Mandalay, the collection of alms at Amarapura and the 600 painted pagodas and monasteries at Sagaing, after a short crossing the Myit nge river is reached then Inwa and enjoy the view over the surrounding countryside with a horse-cart, visit the world’s largest bell in the ancient city of Mingun.

And Inle Lake, one of the most spectacular lakes in Southeast Asia and which is probably most remembered for its Intha fishermen and their extraordinary one-legged boat rowing techniques. You will find the local peoples and landscape beyond your imagination. Inle Lake is the grand finale with its bustling local markets, handicrafts, stilted villages and breathtaking views. The village of Indein is a tourist destination for the ruins of ancient pagodas, and Nyaung Oak is one of them.

Highlights

  • Wander through the colonial charm of Yangon
  • Explore Shwedagon Pagoda with its golden stupa
  • Climb the Golden Rock and witness many Buddhist pilgrims
  • Discover Bago, the capital of 16th century Mon kingdom
  • Learn about the war at the Allied War Cemetery
  • Discover one of the finest collections of temples in South East Asia at Bagan
  • Witness the sunset from the top of Mandalay Hill
  • Attend a morning alms collection at a monastery outside Mandalay
  • Visit the world’s largest bell in the ancient city of Mingun
  • Walk amongst the wonders at Sagaing, home to 600 pagodas and monasteries
  • Walk through the beautiful scenery of the Shan Plateau to Inle Lake and stay with a local family on its shores

(Day 01) Mae Sot-Myawaddy-Hpa An (by car)

Upon arrival Thai-Myanmar border, transfer to Hpa-An by car. Sightseeing in Hpa-An. Overnight in Hpa An.

Upon arriv2al Thai-Myanmar border (Mae Sot-Myawaddy), Myanmar Damsel tour guide  welcomes you at the  border and offers you any assistance needed before leaving the border, you will be on your way to Hpa An, the capital of Karen State, Myanmar.  After refreshment at hotel, visit KYAUNKAMLAB STUPA, also called water lake monastery, and then, visit LUMBINI GARDEN at the base of Mount Zwekabin. There are 1,000 Gantgaw trees with same style Buddha statues. Finally, stroll around Hpa-An town, and sunset at SHWE YIN MYAW PAGODA situated at the bank of Than Lwin River. Overnight in Hpa-An.

(Day 02) Hpa An-Kyaikhtiyo (by car, & open truck)

Continue sightseeing in Hpa-An, afterwards transfer from Hpa-An to Kyaikhtiyo. Overnight in Kyaikhityo (Golden Rock).

Breakfast at Hotel, today enjoy the early morning sun scenery from the TOWN HALL area and explore the colorful central market. And next visit KAWGUN CAVE, located near Kawgun Village, which is 2 miles outside Hpa-An township. It is a natural limestone cave 200 ft. high and 300 ft. long. The rock face near the entrance is profusely decorated with different kinds of clay Buddha images that date back to the 15th century A.D. Hanthawaddy period. And then, visit famous BAYINT NYI NAUNG GU, the natural limestone cave containing hot springs and which draws visitors from the nearby area for their reputed healing powers. The springs are divided into three pools, one for monks, one for men and one for women. En route, SHWE SAR YAN PAGODA at Thaton. Afterward, drive to Kyaikhtiyoe, a small pagoda significant in size but unique for its position. The rock is completely covered by gold leaf and delicately balanced on the edge of the cliff. Arrive at the base camp and proceed to the end station by open light truck about an hour mountain drive. Upon arrival take a light trekking up to the Hotel for check in .After refreshments proceed to Golden Rock along the twisting footpath through bamboo forest. Arrive Golden rock slowly and take photo & video camera. Enjoy sunset beauty on hill top. Overnight in Kyaikhiyo (Golden Rock).

(Day 03) Kyaikhtiyo-Bago-Yangon (by car, & open truck)

By car from Kyaikhiyo to Yangon with Bago sightseeing on the way. Overnight in Yangon.

3

For early risers there will be an opportunity to experience the Golden Rock site around sunrise. After that, breakfast at your hotel. Then, descend on foot back to the 1st Level. Continue down back to Kinpun base camp by truck. Then proceed by car to Yangon (121 miles and approx 4 hours drive), former Burmese Capital Yangon. On the way, we visit SHWEMAWDAW PAGODA (115 meter high), KANBAWZATHARDI PALACE of King Bayinnaung. SHWETHALYAUNG RECLINING BUDDHA (55 meters long), and next observing the weaving factory in MON VILLAGE to see the way of life, and then head to 28 meter high huge Buddha Image of KYAIKPUN PAGODA. On the way back to Yangon, sightseeing of the HTAUK KYANT WAR ALLIED CEMETERY. Overnight in Yangon.

(Day 04) Yangon (by car)

Full day sightseeing in Yangon. Overnight in Yangon.

4

After breakfast at hotel, start an orientation tour of downtown Yangon. You will drive through Yangon’s busy roads and take a glimpse of the hustle downtown, Mahabandoola Park, Town Hall. See the magnificent colonial buildings of Victorian and Edwardian era architecture. This introductory drive will end with a stop near SULE PAGODA – dating back over 2,000 years ago, for brief photo taking. Next, visit BOTATAUNG PAGODA, named after the 1000 military leaders who escorted relics of the Buddha from India over 2000 years ago. Afterwards, you may proceed for lunch.

In the afternoon, visit some of the well known pagodas, including CHAUKHTATGYI Reclining Buddha, and enjoy a break at BOGYOKE (SCOTT) MARKET, a pleasant covered market containing crafts from all corners of Myanmar, gems, fabrics and more. (The market is closed on Mondays and public holidays). Next, photo stop at Royal Lake with the background of the famous Shwedagon Pagoda.

Finally visit sunset at SHWEDAGON PAGODA, the finest of Yangon and perhaps the most stunning religious edifice in the world. Take your time to enjoy seeing this impressive feature and watching local people. Stroll on its platform surrounded by set of smaller Temples, shrines and pavilions, and observe numerous shops along the stairways selling various colorful items, flowers and books. As the sun sets, the reddish golden rays of Shwedagon reflect on everything around and turning into a magical arena. Great photo time & a moment to take away with you. Overnight in Yangon.

(Day 05) Yangon-Bagan (by flight, & car)

Transfer to Airport for a morning flight to Bagan. Transfer to hotel. Full day sightseeing in Bagan. Overnight in Bagan.

6

This morning we transfer to the airport to get the early morning flight to Bagan (06:15-07:35). Check into the hotel and depart for a sightseeing excursion around the Bagan Archaeological Zone World Heritage Area. Begins the tour at hundred colorful Nyaung Oo local market; SHWEZIGON PAGODA, the prototype of later Myanmar stupas; KYANSITTHA UMIN; Wet-kyi-inn Gubyaukgyi Temple with exquisite mural painting of 13th century and Htilominlo Temple.

In the afternoon, after a visit to lacquer ware workshops; next visit MANUHA TEMPLE built by exile King Manuha; NANPHAYA, said to have been the residence of King Manuha; ANANDA TEMPLE, architectural masterpiece and OAK-KYAUNG monastery decorated with multi color mural paintings. Enjoy the breathtaking sunset from one of the temples of Bagan. Overnight in Bagan.

(Day 06) Bagan-Salay-Mt.Popa (by car)

Excursion to Salay and Mt. Popa. Overnight in Mt. Popa.

5

After breakfast at hotel, drive out of Bagan to visit Salay, a town which develops during the late Bagan era. En route stop at village cottage industry to learn the regional product as well as to watch the collection of juice from the palm trees, and its conversion to brown sugar.

Upon arrival Salay, visit YOKESONE MONASTERY, which is the oldest surviving wooden monastery hall built on 154 teak posts with beautiful wood carvings decorating the outer walls and then visit 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.

Afterwards, continue to MOUNT POPA, an extinct volcano with its shrines dedicated to animist spirits known as “Nats”. For the energetic, time to climb up the 777 steps to the shrine at the top of the volcanic plug. Overnight in Mt. Popa.

(Day 07) Mt. Popa-Inle Lake (by car, & boat)

By overland transfer from Mt. Popa to Nyaung Shwe and then by boat to hotel. En route visit Shwe Yan Pyay Monastery. Overnight in Inle Lake.

nyaung-shwe-inle-lake-shwe-yan-pyay-monastery

After breakfast at hotel, drive from Mt. Popa to Nyaung Shwe (294 km, approximate 7 and half hours drive) – a gateway to Inle Lake, a freshwater lake in the heart of Shan Highlands.  En route stop at the SHWE YAN PYAY MONASTERY built entirely of teak, and then transfer to Nyaung Shwe Jetty, by boat to Hotel. Overnight in Inle Lake.

(Day 08) Inle Lake-Indein-Inle Lake (by boat)

Today enjoy excursion to Indein Temple Complex and Saema village. Overnight in Inle Lake.

7

After breakfast at Hotel, visit one of the 5 Days Rotation Market (only on market day), the market rotates its location on a 5 day basis and attracts vendors from around the lake and its surroundings. Afterwards, you will be taken to INDEIN, at the western Bank of the Lake. The boat takes you through a long channel where you can watch the farms cultivate their produce and then leading to the hidden INDEIN temple complex. Located on the shore of the lake, this site consists of hundreds of small stupas overgrown by moss and greens. The population density in Indein is very little and the villagers earn their living with agriculture and you will see their traditional life style. Continue on foot past rice fields to the village of SAE MA, stopping to explore thevillage and the local school. In the afternoon meet the people in the villages on the lake and travel to one of the monasteries to observe the monastic activities. Next visit  NGA PHE KYAUNG MONASTERY, one of the oldest monasteries on the lake. One can see ancient Buddha statues which are more than 200 years old.  Finally visit PHAUNG DAW OO PAGODA, the holiest religious site in Southern Shan State. Return to Hotel. Overnight in Inle Lake.

(Day 09) Inle Lake (by boat)

Excursion to Sagar and Tar Kaung by boat. Overnight in Inle Lake.

8

After breakfast at hotel, travel by boat to the less visited area south of Inle Lake. The scenic boat trip takes about 2.5-3 hours. Get insight into the unspoiled culture and traditional lifestyle of ethnic inhabitants and enjoy the beautiful landscape.   Visit the 108 ‘SUNKEN STUPAS’ of Sagar dated back from the 16th – 17th   centuries that are partially underwater for a few months a year. Continue to THAYA GONE VILLAGE to see locals produce rice wine. Stop at THA KHAUNG POTTERY VILLAGE where villagers still use underground kiln. Photo stop at TAR KAUNG on the western shores of Sagar, a series of more than 200 stupas. Back to your hotel by boat. Overnight in Inle Lake.

(Day 10) Inle Lake-Heho-Mandalay (by boat, car, & flight)

Transfer to Heho Airport for a short morning flight to Mandalay. Transfer to Hotel. Full day sightseeing in Mandalay and Amarapura. Overnight in Mandalay

9

Early morning breakfast at hotel. Transfer to Heho Airport for a domestic flight to Mandalay (08:05-08:35). Upon arrival at airport, head to ancient capital of AMARAPURA, a royal capital founded before Mandalay. Firstly, we take you to MAHAGANDAYON MONASTERY; every day at mid-morning, monks and novices line up to receive their daily offering of alms and food from faithful Buddhists. Then, proceed to two-century old U-Bein teak bridge on the Taungtaman Lake. Take a leisurely walk over the bridge and enjoy the panoramic view of Taungthaman Lake and surrounding. Next visit weaving industries, a traditional silk & cotton weaving. Afterwards, Proceed to Mandalay and check in at the hotel.

After refreshment, afternoon tour begins at MAHAMUNI PAYA, the most revered Buddha statue in entire Myanmar. The whole image, except, the face is covered with thick layers of gold foils; a token of the devotees’ intense faith to Buddha. Worshipers flock daily to the shrine at four in the morning to observe the unique face-washing ceremony. En route to the pagoda, stop to observe the laborious process of GOLD-LEAF BEATING, where gold is painstakingly hammered into tissue-thin squares.  Before breaking for lunch, visit a CRAFT WORKSHOP specializing in one of the arts for which the city is famous: bronze-casting, marble-carving, wood-carving, or puppetry.

Continue to SHWENANDAW KYAUNG (Golden Palace Monastery), a delicately carved wooden building and KUTHODAW PAGODA (the world’s largest book), consisting of 729 marble slabs engraved with Buddhist scriptures. Finally, visit MANDALAY HILL at Sunset. Up on the hill, you find a scenic view of the city, the plains surrounding it, the Shan Mountain, as well as the Ayeyarwaddy River, especially great at sunset. Overnight in Mandalay.

(Day 11) Mandalay-Inwa-Sagaing-Mingun (by car, horse-cart, & boat)

Excursion to two former royal capitals: Inwa and Sagaing in the morning. Excursion to Mingun by boat in the afternoon. Overnight in Mandalay.

10

Today tour begins with visit two former royal capitals, Inwa and Sagaing with its own unique atmosphere. Morning excursion to ancient capital AVA (Inwa), once a royal capital for four times which is visited by horse cart, to visit BAGAYA MONASTERY, NANMYINT WATCH TOWER, and MAHA AUNGMYE BONZAN BICK MONASTERY. Afterwards, head to SAGAING, the spiritual center of Myanmar. Hundreds of stupas, monasteries, temples and nunneries are to be found in Sagaing Hill, sometimes known as a living Bagan. Thousands of monks and nuns retreat here for meditation and contemplation. Stop at some of the most famous temples, such as TUPAYON PAYA and HSINMYASHIN PAYA (the Pagoda of many Elephants). Afterwards, return to Mandalay.

In the afternoon, transfer to Mandalay jetty for upriver boat cruise to the ancient capital of MINGUN. It takes approximately one hour drive by boat. The interesting sites in Mingun are: the huge and unfinished MINGUN PAGODA and next visit nearby MINGUN BELL (90 tons), the second largest bell in the world are the most prominent religious heritages; and then the MYA THEIN DAN PAGODA.  On the way back to Mandalay, you can enjoy the sunset of Irrawaddy River on the cruise. Overnight in Mandalay.

(Day 12) Departure Mandalay (by flight)

Breakfast at hotel. You will be escorted to Mandalay International Airport and assisted as required, for your international departure flight.

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