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Welcome to Burma, ‘quite unlike any place you know about’. Arrive Yangon airport last this evening and transfer straight to your hotel for a good night's sleep before your adventures begin tomorrow.
After breakfast we drive the 4-5hr route to Mt. Kyaiktiyo, also known as the Golden Rock. The rock sits on a gilded boulder precariously perched on the edge of a hill. On the way visit the Allied War Cemetery at Htaukkyant. Our car has to stop at Kinpun Base camp. From there we have to use a local open truck which is normally used for hilly track up to the hermit “Yathae Hill”. On arrival at the hermit “Yathae Hill”, you will have to trek about one hour up hill or can proceed by palanquin (on clients' own account). You can also trek to the hill from the base camp. Arrive at Golden Rock, enjoy the beauty sunset. Overnight Kyaikhto Hotel.
Wake up early for a beautiful sunrise over Golden Rock before leaving the way we came. En route back to Yangon visit Bago, the ancient Mon Capital, 80km northeast of Yangon. Sightseeing tour highlights in Bago include: Bago colourful market to observe the ways of life of local people, Shwemawdaw Pagoda - one of the most venerated pagodas in Myanmar, Kanbawzathadi Palace, Shwethalyaung - the world’s most beautiful Reclining Buddha, Mahazedi Pagoda, Wood curving and cheroot making industry, Kyaikpun Pagoda, four huge Buddha Image sitting back to back and Chinese (Quan Yin) temple. Arrive Yangon late afternoon.
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.
Early this morning visit Mahar Myat Muni Buddha Image to see the daily face washing ceremony. This pagoda is the most ancient Buddha image casted in bronze in Myanmar. Back to hotel to enjoy breakfast before visiting the Mahagandayon Monastery where everyday hundreds of monks queue to receive their daily alms from the people. You'll also visit the U Bein Bridge and the Mahamuni Temple, home to an ancient bronze Buddha image. There’ll be time 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 you to the stone Maha Aungmye Bonzan Monastery.
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.
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 we visit the Shwezigon Pagoda to observe the Schwezigon Pagoda Festival, one of the most famous pagoda festivals in Bagan. There will be street vendors, food stalls, puppet and magic shows, markets selling local goods, and theatrical shows. Villagers from nearby villages come by bullock cart to join in the festivities and you will get to see ways of life of the local people.
After early breakfast at the hotel, fly to Heho for Taunggyi and Inle Lake. The one-week-long hot air balloon festival in Taunggyi near Inle Lake is a competition where groups try to gain points for their flight technique, coordination, form and colour of their huge 3-8m, home-made paper balloons, often in the shape of animals, and to ultimately win the money prize. Night balloons are decorated with home-made candle chains and their launch is often complemented by huge firework displays. Later in the evening we drive back to Inle Lake for overnight.
Today we explore 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. The day finishes with a visit to a local silverware workshop, silk and lotus workshops and traditional iron work.
This morning we 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.
Today drive to Kalaw, a popular hill station during the British days sitting on the western edge of the Shan Plateau. It's a peaceful and quiet place with an atmosphere reminiscent of the colonial era. Enjoy a few hours of soft trekking through small ranges with tea-leaf and cheroot-leaf plantations and rice fields, passing the Painaebin village of the Danu people. Later we will visit Thein Taung Pay pagoda, a temple perched on the hill overlooking the main road.
After breakfast and hotel check out we transfer to the airport for your flight back to Yangon. After hotel check in, visit Chaukhtatkyi Pagoda, which houses the 4th largest colossal reclining Buddha. Continue to the heart of Yangon to see Sule Pagoda, Maha Bandoola Park with Independence Monument, City Hall, High Court and many colonial style buildings. After lunch break, visit Nanthida Jetty to witness the daily life of the local people along Yangon's River, followed by a stroll around China town with markets selling various kind of food, fruits and products. In the evening, we visit the magnificent Shwedagon pagoda, landmark of Myanmar and one of the greatest wonders of the world.
Enjoy a morning visit to Botahtaung Pagoda, a famous landmark on Yangon’s waterfront where one can see Buddha's hair relic. There will be time for shopping in the Bogyoke market, formerly "Scott market", where you can get a wide range of Myanmar handicraft, jewellery, fabrics, lacquer wares and so on. You'll have use of a day room until we transfer you to the airport later this evening for your flight back home.