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Welcome to Burma, ‘quite unlike any place you know about’. Arrive Yangon with included airport transfer to your hotel where the remainder of the day can be spent at leisure.
Today explore the fascinating city of Yangon. Begin at the waterfront, 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. You'll also visit the gold, hollow Botahtaung Pagoda and the giant 70 metre-long reclining Buddha of Chaukhtagyi Paya. Later this evening visit the most revered 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.
This morning fly to Mandalay, Burma’s last royal capital. After hotel check in 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. You'll 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.
As a former capital of Burma, the ancient city of Amarapura is rich in sights. This morning visit the largest teaching monastery in the country, the Mahagandayon Monastery. Everyday hundreds of monks queue to receive their daily alms from the people. You'll 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. V visit a local handicraft workshop to see bronze sculpting, gold leaf beating and marble stone carving. The afternoon visit Inwa where a horse-drawn carriage brings you to the stone Maha Aungmye Bonzan Monastery, the Mainu brick monastery and the old watchtower.
Transferring to the jetty this morning board a boat for a scenic cruise on the Ayeyarwaddy River taking you to Bagan. Sit back and relax as the vessel plies its course past rolling fields of green. Arriving into Bagan later this evening transfer to your hotel. Please note: Boats do not operate between November and March. If travelling during this time, spend the morning at leisure in Mandalay before transferring to the airport for your flight to Bagan (supplement applies - please see pricing page).
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. Your sightseeing tour 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. The remainder of the day is spent exploring Bagan's most popular temples and pagodas. At a local lacquer workshop witness how local craftsmen skilfully prepare Bagan’s most famous handicraft before enjoying a tranquil sunset boat ride on the Ayeyarwaddy River.
Today is free for you to independently explore more of Bagan’s temples and stupas. Alternatively take a morning excursion to Tant Kyi Mountain to visit the hilltop temple with stunning views across the Ayeyarwaddy River and the plains of Bagan. The excursion also includes a visit to Myin Kabar Village to see handicrafts in action (bookable and payable locally).
Today 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 enjoy a visit to the Thein Taung Pay pagoda.
An early morning start allows you to enjoy trekking in the Palaung Hills through small ranges of rice paddies and tea plantations bringing you to Painaebin village, home to the indigenous Danu people. Walking back to Kalaw, drive to the quiet town of Pindaya set amidst beautiful countryside and famous for its extensive cave network. Highlights of your 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.
After breakfast drive to the wonderful watery world of Inle Lake home to floating gardens, stilted villages and crumbling stupas. Touring the lake by boat 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.
Today 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).
After breakfast leave the enchanting lake and transfer to the Heho airport for your flight back to Yangon. Once back in the capital, the remainder of the day is at leisure.
Today marks the end of your Burmese adventure with hotel check out and airport departure transfer.