Today we explore the fascinating city of Yangon and its famous religious monuments. We begin at the waterfront, the heart of the city and home to many impressive traditional and colonial buildings including the Sule Pagoda, Maha Bandoola Park with Independence Monument, the City Hall and the High Court. We also visit the gold, hollow Botahtaung Pagoda, originally built over 2500 years ago, and the giant 70 metre-long reclining Buddha of Chaukhtagyi Paya whose serene features are topped by a crown encrusted in diamonds and other precious stones.
Later this evening we visit the most revered Buddhist temple in Burma, the magnificent Shwedagon Pagoda, where locals gather to make offerings and prayers. Standing at 90 metres tall, the gold leaf central stupa dominates the city’s skyline and turns vivid hues of yellow, orange and red when the sun begins to set.
Overnight: Yangon | Breakfast
Yangon – Mandalay. This morning we fly to Mandalay, Burma’s last royal capital. After hotel check in we head to the jetty for a pleasant boat ride upriver to Mingun to visit the remains of what could have been the world’s largest pagoda. Intended to reach a staggering height of 152 metres, work on the pagoda stopped after the death of King Bodawpaya in 1819. Dramatically split by an earthquake in 1838, the monumental structure is still incredibly impressive. We also visit the huge Mingun Bell and the beautiful white Myatheindan pagoda nearby.
Returning by boat to Mandalay the afternoon is spent exploring the Royal Palace, the teak carvings of the historic Shwenandaw Monastery and the world’s largest book at the Kuthodaw Pagoda. Our day concludes with Mandalay Hill and depending on the time, a spectacular sunset with vistas across the city.
Overnight: Mandalay | Breakfast
As a former capital of Burma, the ancient city of Amarapura is rich in sights and this morning we visit the largest teaching monastery in the country, the Mahagandayon Monastery. Everyday hundreds of monks queue to receive their daily alms from the people. We also visit the longest teak bridge in the world, the U Bein Bridge set over the enchanting Taungthaman Lake, and the Mahamuni Temple, home to an ancient bronze Buddha image. We’ll also have the opportunity to visit a local handicraft workshop to see bronze sculpting, gold leaf beating and marble stone carving.
The afternoon is spent at the historical city of Inwa where a horse-drawn carriage brings us to the stone Maha Aungmye Bonzan Monastery, a fine example of Burmese masonry, the Mainu brick monastery and the old watchtower.
Overnight: Mandalay | Breakfast
Mandalay – Bagan. Transferring to the jetty this morning we board a boat for a scenic cruise on the Ayeyarwaddy River taking us to Bagan. Sit back and relax as the vessel plies its course past rolling fields of green. Arriving into Bagan later this evening we transfer to our hotel.
Please note: Boats do not operate between 01 April and 23 October 2015/ 2016 (dates can vary dependent upon the river water level). If travelling when boats are not in operation we have included the cost of a flight between Mandalay - Bagan within our tour price. Day 5 arrangements during this period would be, spend the morning at leisure in Mandalay before transferring to the airport for your flight to Bagan.
Overnight: Bagan | Breakfast
Nothing can quite prepare you for the spectacular sight of stupa-upon-stupa that fills the green, dusty plains of Bagan. Over 2000 temples and pagodas dating back some 800 years create one of the most impressive skylines to be seen in Southeast Asia. Our sightseeing today begins with a visit to the town of Nyaung-U to see the local market and Bagan’s most important reliquary shrine, the Shwezigon Pagoda, and the simple Kyansittha Cave Temple with interesting 12th century frescoes.
We continue to the Manuha Temple to see the gigantic Buddhas housed inside and the sandstone carvings of the nearby Nanpaya Temple, and on to the Ananda Temple, a whitewashed masterpiece of Mon architecture with four standing gold-leaf Buddhas. We stop for a photo opportunity at the towering Thatbyinnyu Temple before visiting the Dhammayangyi Temple, a massive structure famous for its brickwork, and the Mingalarzedi Pagoda, the last of the large pagodas built in the 13th century, representing the pinnacle of Bagan’s architectural skills. At a local lacquer workshop we witness how local craftsmen skilfully prepare Bagan’s most famous handicraft before enjoying a tranquil sunset boat ride on the Ayeyarwaddy River.
Overnight: Bagan | Breakfast
Bagan – Mount Popa – Kalaw. Today we travel to the popular hill station of Kalaw with a stop en route at the extinct volcano of Mount Popa. The mountain is believed to be the abode of legendary Nats (spirit gods) and at the summit are numerous monasteries, pagodas and shrines in various architectural styles. Arriving into Kalaw late afternoon we visit Thein Taung Pay pagoda.
Overnight: Kalaw | Breakfast
Kalaw – Painaebin – Pindaya. An early morning start allows us to enjoy trekking in the Palaung Hills through small ranges of rice paddies and tea plantations bringing us to Painaebin village, home to the indigenous Danu people. Walking back to Kalaw we drive to the quiet town of Pindaya set amidst beautiful countryside and famous for its extensive cave network. Highlights of our sightseeing tour today include the carved Buddha images of the Pindaya caves, the ancient Banyan tree and small local factories producing Mulberry paper and bamboo hats.
Overnight: Pindaya | Breakfast
Pindaya – Inle Lake. After breakfast on day 9 we drive to the wonderful watery world of Inle Lake home to floating gardens, stilted villages and crumbling stupas. Touring the lake by boat we witness the unique rowing techniques of the local fishermen before visiting the unusual Nga Pe Chaung monastery where Buddhist monks have taught cats to jump through hoops and Inle Lake’s largest pagoda, the Paungdaw Oo pagoda.
Day 10 is free for you to enjoy at leisure. You could take advantage of the lush surrounding countryside and partake in canoeing or cycling, or alternatively you could opt for an excursion to Indein village on the western side of Inle Lake. You’ll visit the impressive Shwe Indein Pa-O complex affording magnificent views over the lake and walk through bamboo forest where local villagers bathe along the riverside (bookable and payable locally).
Overnight: Inle Lake | Breakfast x 2
Inle Lake – Yangon. After breakfast we leave the lake and transfer to the Heho airport for our flight back to Yangon. Once back in the capital, the remainder of the day is at leisure.
Overnight: Yangon | Breakfast
Wednesday. Today marks the end of our Burmese adventure with hotel check out and airport departure transfer
Burma on the Beach
Consider extending your stay and enjoying some rest and relaxation at Ngapali Beach, a pristine stretch of unspoiled, palm-fringed coast on the beautiful Bay of Bengal. Please contact us for further information.
For all our tours and tailor-made holidays we provide you with a clear categorisation of all hotels we use. The REGIONAL CATEGORY indicates the local rating of each hotel in each respective country. We have also rated each hotel using OUR CATEGORY, which will be in line with generally accepted western hotel grading standards.
Basic hotels and simple accommodation is a no frills option with an adventurous authentic feel.
Standard accommodation equates to a Western 3-star standard, always featuring en-suite rooms and usually a restaurant.
Superior accommodation equates to a Western 4-star standard, featuring en-suite rooms and usually a restaurant and often a swimming pool and/or a fitness centre.
Deluxe accommodation equates to a Western 5-star standard, usually featuring spacious, en-suite rooms, a restaurant, swimming pool and fitness centre and an array of amenities, excellent service and customer care.
Lavish accommodation equates to a Western 5-star plus standard - the creme de la creme. Featuring spacious, en-suite rooms, a restaurant, swimming pool and fitness centre and an array of amenities, this accommodation is a cut above the rest. Sheer opulence!
The Summit Park View features a quaint Myanmar style architecture frontage, set within manicured gardens that faces the lush, green People’s Park. The newly renovated guest rooms are comfortable with a good selection of amenities including complimentary high speed WiFi.
Overlooking the Ayarwaddy River, this newly built hotel offers wonderful river views from its front-facing guest rooms as well as the Sky bar on the roof top, the perfect place to enjoy a sundowner. The well-sized rooms feature pleasant wooden furnishings with all mod-cons.
Built in 1922 to facilitate the arrival of the British Prince of Wales, the Bagan Thande Hotel is the only colonial era building in the city. Rooms are furnished to a high standard with beautiful teakwood, fine fabrics and traditional handicrafts. An Al-fresco dinner overlooking the Ayeyawaddy River facing numerous pagodas is a great way to spend evenings at this wonderful Burmese retreat. Perfectly located by the river in Old Bagan surrounding by beautiful gardens and temples as far as the eye can see.
Tipping is not a natural part of many Western cultures and many of us feel uncomfortable, or unsure, about when, or how much, to tip. However, in Burma, tipping makes up a significant part of many people's wages so it's important that we get it right. For this reason we've developed a very simple system to take all the hassle out of tipping. With our 'tipping made easy' policy, a nominal pre-determined amount is collected from all group tour participants to cover tips en route. This then saves you the hassle of when and how much to tip bellhops, luggage handlers, local guides and other support staff through the tour. Our 'tipping made easy' doesn't include a tip to your group tour leader. Naturally, though, the amount is up to you as tipping is an entirely personal gesture.