(yangon - Kyaikhtiyo - Bago - Yangon - Heho - Kalaw - Pindaya - Inle Lake - Heho - Kengtung - Mandalay - Mingun - Sagaing - Monywa - Pakokku - Bagan - Mt. Popa - Bagan - Yangon)
DAY 1: YANGON / ARRIVAL
Arrive at Yangon Airport. Welcome by our local guide and transfer to your hotel. In the afternoon, sightseeing of Yangon start with Chaukhtatkyi Pagoda (a huge reclining Buddha), Karaweik Hall, a Royal floating barge on the Royal Lake for a photo stop. Late in the afternoon, visit the Shwedagon Pagoda described by Somerset Maugham: "The Shwedagon rose superb, glistening with its gold, like a sudden hope in the dark night of the soul of which the mystics write, glistening against the fog and smoke of the thriving city." This massive bell-shaped stupa rises nearly 100 meters above its hill-top surroundings. Wander through this magnificent structure and its courtyards, stupas, bells, Temples, and Buddha images, and see religious and secular visitors from all parts of the globe. Shwedagon has become the symbol of Myanmar. Overnight in Yangon.
DAY 2: YANGON – KYAIKTIYO
Early morning drive to Kyaiktiyo (Golden Rock) (appr. 5 hrs. drive). On the way, visit Sittaung Bridge, an area humming with riverside activity, with small markets at the water’s edge, and small riverboats, coming and going with passengers and cargo. Carts drawn by water buffalo amble along the highway are the common scenery. On arrival at Kinmon Base Camp, take an open truck to Hermit Hill (appr. 45 mins drive). From here, continue the journey up to Golden Rock Pagoda on foot. This trail is sometimes steep, but it is smooth, and there are covered shelters every 50-100 meters to rest, and to have a cold drink. Porters will be available to assist anyone who needs help, and "sedan chair" conveyance is available for those who do not wish to walk. Then visit Golden Rock Pagoda, a small stupa placed atop the Golden Rock, a massive granite boulder. Covered with gold leaf, and precariously balanced over the edge of the mountain, it is reported to be held in place, "balanced on hairs of the Buddha". Watch hundreds of pilgrims lighting candles, incense, and worshipping at this sacred monument, and enjoy the sun setting behind it. Enjoy the early after dark activities at the shrine. Overnight in Kyaikhityo.
DAY 3: KYAIKTIYO – BAGO – YANGON
After breakfast walk part way down the mountain, and then continue the journey by car to the small village of Kyaikhto. On the way visit the cashew nut plantation and rubber trees plantation. In Bago visit to the interesting Bago Market with varieties of vegetables, flower and commodity goods, the Shwethalyaung Pagoda (Reclining Buddha), the Shwemawdaw Pagoda and walk from there to the Hintha Gon Pagoda, the place where Bago was founded. Late afternoon return to Yangon. Overnight in Yangon.
DAY 4: YANGON – HEHO – KALAW (½ DAY Hiking)
Take a morning flight to Heho. On arrival, drive to Kalaw (appr. 1 hour), a beautiful pine-clad hill station. In Kalaw, visit the market and downtown area. In the afternoon drive about 15 minutes to the north-west of the town. At a certain place, the car will stop and time to hike. The road and trail goes through beautiful scenery, as well as, orange and tea plantations. After 1½ to 2 hours arrive Pane Hne Pin, a Palaung Tribal Village with a population of 600 people. These people make their living from agriculture and occasionally from hunting, and live in long houses, with 4-5 families sharing the single storied structures. From Pane Hne Pin you have to walk for 1 hr to reach another place on the highway to meet the car. Drive back to Kalaw (appr. 20 mins). Overnight in Kalaw.
DAY 5: KALAW – PINDAYA – INLE LAKE
In the morning, drive to Pindaya (appr. 1½ hours drive), a charming village with its paper umbrella cottage industry. Visit the Pindaya cave, famous for its thousands of Buddha images and the paper umbrella cottage industry. Then continue drive to Nyaung Shwe (appr. 3 hrs. drive), and visit Shwe Yan Pyay Monastery, which is more than 150 years old. This monastery is a favorite of photographers because of its unusual oval shaped windows. You should also not miss the Shwe Yan Pyay Pagoda just beside the monastery. There is cave like corridor around the stupa and the walls are decorated with amazing glass mosaic and also have Buddhas in the niches. From Nyaung Shwe, take an Inthar style motorized sampa to Inle Lake. Overnight at Inle Lake.
DAY 6: INLE LAKE – INDEIN – INLE LAKE
Full day excursion on Inle Lake (25 km) famous for its unique one-leg rowers, typical floating gardens, local methods of fishing and village life and the Phaung Daw Oo Pagoda housing five sacred and almost shapeless Buddha images, contorted because of the quantity of applied gold leaf, gifts from the believers. The Buddha images are purported to have come here in the 12th Century. In the afternoon, proceed to the silk weaving village of In Phaw Khon and visit Nga Phe Chaung (the biggest and oldest monastery around Inle Lake). Continue your journey by motorized sampa to Indein (appr. 1 ½ hour drive) to see the ancient Bagan + Shan style pagodas, built during Bagan Period, passing the beautiful scenery with tall grasses and little water steps. The ruin pagodas, hidden in the bushes will give you an impression being back to the 12th century... Overnight at Inle Lake.
DAY 7: INLE LAKE – HEHO – KENGTUNG
In the morning, proceed to Heho and take a flight to Kengtung. In the afternoon, visit to Maha Myat Muni Pagoda, housing Mandalay style Buddha image and near by a monastery where the monks learn "Khun" language, which is very similar to that used in the Northern Thailand. Proceed to the Shan lacquer ware making home industry to learn embossing method lacquer ware making. Overnight in Kengtung.
DAY 8: KENGTUNG (PINTAUK AREA)
After breakfast, drive to the Pin Tauk area (appr. 1 hr.). On the way, you will see lush mixed monsoon forest with a view to the plain rice fields looking like a huge, green patchwork blanket shimmering in the water of the flooded paddy fields. Our guide will introduce you to the villagers of Aka and An tribes. Some are baptized, some tribes still animists. The walk is not difficult, and can be done slowly. Some of the An villages or located on hills - about a 45% "steep" walk up but for not more than half an hour. The An people, are known to be the kindest tribe. Up to now there is no case recorded where an An member has ever been violent. It will take about 6 hours to visit the villages, including visits of the houses. Overnight in Kengtung.
DAY 9: KENGTUNG (LOI TRIBE)
After breakfast drive appr. 2 hrs to Maila, a big town at the Chinese Border. From there it will take 1 ½ hour hike to one of the Loi tribe villages. The Loi people prefer to live in huge long houses, including at least 5 families. Before visiting the Lois there is an old monastery, a very beautiful one and very different from the other monasteries. Not more than 20 travelers a year visit that place! One hour from here is another Loi village (Wan Seng). Scenery is beautiful and hiking is not difficult. Return to Kengtung and overnight.
DAY 10: KENGTUNG – MANDALAY
Early morning visit the lively market offering a mixture of local products, handicraft wares of the tribal folk and merchandise from Thailand and China. If time permitted, you can also visit to one Akhu village. “Akhu” another tribe. They are not the same with “Akhar” tribe. Akhu used to wear black color top and especially woman wear big silver ear lobes. In the afternoon, transfer to the airport for the flight to Mandalay. Overnight in Mandalay.
DAY 11: MANDALAY- MINGUN – MANDALAY
After breakfast, drive up to Mandalay Hill, a vantage-point for panoramic view of the city. One famous song in Myanmar said “if you want to live long, you have to go Mandalay Hill”. Then visit the Shwenandaw Monastery, noted for its exquisite wood carvings, Atumashi Monastery, the "Incomparable Monastery", and the Kuthodaw Pagoda, known as the world's Biggest Book for its stone slabs of Buddhist scriptures. Then proceed to Mahamuni Pagoda, with its spectacular Buddha image covered in thick layers of gold leaf. In the afternoon, drive to Mayan jetty to watch the busy riverside activity and take a local riverboat to the ancient capital of Mingun (appr. 1 hour per way). Visit the Settawya Pagoda, with a footprint of the Buddha, walk to the huge Mingun Bell, see the nearby unfinished Mingun Pagoda, built to be the world’s biggest pagoda and visit the Hsinbyume Pagoda, a reproduction of the mythological Mt. Meru. Then come back to Mandalay. Overnight in Mandalay.
DAY 12: MANDALAY – SAGAING – MONYWA
After breakfast, drive to Sagaing, 21 km southwest of Mandalay. Visit Kaunghmudaw, an enormous dome shape Pagoda and after a short visit to the silversmith home industry proceed to Sagaing Hills, a retreat for Buddhist devotees with numerous Pagodas, monasteries and nunneries. Then proceed to Monywa (appr. 3 hrs. drive), a typical Myanmar town located on the bank of the Chindwin River. In the afternoon visit the Hindu style Than Buddhay Temple, unique in all of Myanmar, beautifully decorated with the most beautiful stucco work in the country, dating from the 17th century. Finally go for sunset to the Alantayar Pagoda, sight of the largest reclining Buddha image in all of South East Asia, over 600 feet in length. Overnight in Monywa.
DAY 13: MONYWA – PAKOKKU – BAGAN
In the morning, drive to Pakokku, a bustling tobacco trading town. On the way, you can stop at Yesagyo, where you can also see some home industries of incense stick, which are used all over Myanmar for offering Buddhas and “nats”. You can also stop at some villages, to study the daily life of the people in the rural area. On arrival at Pakokku, also visit to some houses where they are making papier-mâché. It is also interesting to visit weaving houses. Then take a private boat and cross the mighty Ayeyarwaddy River to Bagan (appr. 1 ½ hour). Thousands of decaying pagodas rises majestically from the plain to create a timeless scene, saluting a glorious past. Overnight in Bagan.
DAY 14: BAGAN
Full day sightseeing tour of Bagan with a diverse selection of the most important pagodas and temples, such as Shwezigon Pagoda, built by King Anawrahta in the early 11th century as a religious shrine; the Gu Byauk Gyi Temple (Wetkyi-in), a temple with exquisite murals of Jataka scenes; the Ananda Temple, with four huge standing Buddha images and numerous seated figures in niches around the galleried interior and the Shwe Gu Gyi Temple, noted for its fine stucco carvings and panoramic views of the area’s many monuments... and continue sightseeing of Bagan including Manuha Temple built in Mon style from 1059; Nanphaya Temple, said to have once been the residence of King Manuha and Gu Byauk Gyi Temple (Myinkabar), which has very nice frescoes inside. Enjoy sunset over terraces of the Shwesandaw Pagoda. Overnight in Bagan.
DAY 15: BAGAN – POPA – BAGAN
After breakfast drive to Mt. Popa and visit the great extinct volcano. Rising out of the shimmering heat, the solitary volcanic crag of Mt. Popa is home to Myanmar's most powerful "nats". Visit the Nat Museum with its life-sized statues of the 37 Nat Gods. Walk up the steps to the stupas and shrines that top the hill above the museum, seeing many pilgrims along the way. In the afternoon, drive back to Bagan (appr. 1 hr). On the way visit some villages and watch the collection of juice from the palm trees, and its conversion into palm sugar. Overnight in Bagan.
DAY 16: BAGAN – YANGON
After breakfast transfer to the airport for the flight to Yangon. Sightseeing of Yangon start with Sule Pagoda, dating back over 2000 years, the Mahabandoola Park with it’s Independence Monument and walk around the downtown area. Wide streets, orderly town planning and neglected public buildings revive visions of British rule; while busy streets scenes and shimmering pagodas, bursting through a leafy canopy, hint at the rich local culture. Skyscrapers and glaring neon billboards have yet to overtake the capital. Overnight in Yangon.
DAY 17: YANGON / DEPARTURE
After breakfast transfer to the Yangon International Airport for the departure flight.
- Bed and breakfast in double sharing room,
- English or Italian guide throughout the tour,
- Domestic flights by Air Bagan, Asian Wings, Yangon Air or Air Kanbawza,
- air-con car/van/bus throughout the tour,
- Entrance fees as indicated in our itinerary,
- Boat to Mingun, and boat at Inle Lake , boat from Pakokku to Bagan,
- Open truck to Kyaiktiyo,
- porter fees at the airports and jettiess.
- International flight to/from Yangon,
- Visa fees,
- Early check-in and late check-out,
- Porter fees at the hotels,Tips, beverages,
- Bank handling fees,
- Balloon over Bagan, etc.