The Best of Myanmar (10 Nights / 11 Days)
(Yangon – Bagan – Mandalay – PyinOoLwin – Inle – Ngapali – Yangon)
Day 1: Arrive at Yangon Airport
Meet & greet by the guide at the airport. After check-in, head to The Great Shwedagon pagoda for the most wonderful sunset appreciation in town.
The Great Shwedagon pagoda – this 98-meter gilded stupa is Myanmar’s Holiest Buddhist Shrine that contains relics of the past four Buddhas. Based on the records of Buddhist monks, the Shwedagon Pagoda was built before Gautama Buddha died in 486 BCE coinciding with age according to legend. It used to be only 18 meters tall. From 1453 to 1472 it was raised to 40 meters. The stupa was rebuilt many times until it reached its current height of 98 meters in the 18th century. It is believed that if a person wants to avoid bad luck and misfortune, he must pour water at one’s planetary post and he will be ensure of peace of mind and all anxieties will end.
Chaukhtatkyi Reclining Buddha – This 72m long Buddha image is one of Myanmar’s more revered reclining Buddha and only a short distance from The great Shwedagon pagoda.
Overnight in Yangon.
Day 2: Yangon – Nyaung U (Bagan)
Bagan: As the capital of the first Myanmar Empire, Bagan is home to many archaeological sites. Filled with mass of 2,500 pagodas and stupas built between the 11th and 13th centuries, and surrounded by the Irrawaddy River, peanut and sesame fields, Bagan is one of the most best Buddhist archaeological sites in the world.
Check out and head to Yangon domestic terminal to catch your morning flight to Nyaung U.
Bagan station guide will pick up at Nyaung U airport.
After breakfast, visit Nyaung U market – some tourists find the morning market is much more colorful and fun than the popular Scott market in Yangon. Majority of the market area is occupied by souvenirs and antiques shops. You can find bronze statues of the ancient ladies of Bagan, old lacquer ware, paintings copied from the original frescoes in the Bagan temple and hand woven clothes among others. (You’ll see local lifestyles and experience)
Next, your sightseeing starts with some of the most historic temples & pagodas. (You may fresh up at hotel and rest up for a while at hotel lobby areas. Early room check-in is subject to availability. If unavailable, check-in time will be at 2pm.)
Manuha pagoda – built by the captive Mon King Manuha in 1067 & one of the oldest temples in Bagan. Inside, there are 3 seated Buddha statues face the front of the building, & in the back there’s a huge reclining Buddha. All seem too huge for their enclosures, & their cramped, uncomfortable positions are said to represent the stress & lack of comfort the ‘captive king’ had to endure.
Thatbaynyu temple – built by King AlaungSithu in A.D 1144 & is the tallest structure in Bagan. There is a rhyme traditionally sung by the people of Bagan, which runs: “Massiveness that is DhammayanGyi, Loftiness that is Thatbyinnyu, Grace that is Ananda.”
Ananda pagoda – one of the best-preserved & largest temples built by King Kyansittha in 1105 AD. It is the masterpiece of early style temple architecture.
Dammayangyi temple – built by King Narathu (1167-70), who was also known as Kalagya Min, who murdered his own king father to take over the throne and he built this massive structure. King Narathu oversaw the construction but he never completed the construction because he was assassinated before the completion.
In the evening, off to Myinkaba village to observe local lacquerware workshops and learn how this traditional piece of art is made. After that, enjoy horse cart ride among the villages.
Sunset appreciation over Pyathatgyi – the last great construction of Bagan Dynasty. This double-cave type monument has Indian influence.
In the evening, transfer back to your hotel. Overnight in Bagan.
Day 3: Bagan (Full day sightseeing)
After breakfast at the hotel, continue Bagan sightseeing.
Optional Morning Balloon Ride
Early check out from the hotel. Your guide will pick you up at the hotel for balloon ride at 5:30am.
Enjoy your balloon ride and breathtaking sunrise over temples studded land – Bagan!
After the balloon ride, back to your hotel for breakfast. Then, continue your Bagan sightseeing.
Htilominlo – was built in 1211 A.D by King Nadaungmya (Htilominlo), the youngest of the five sons of King Narapatisithu. The king put the royal umbrella at the centre of the five sons positioned in circle and took an oath for the umbrella to bend towards the one who should be King. The umbrella bent towards Zeya Thinkha. Thus he was known as Hitilominlo, meaning favoured by the Royal Umbrella as well as the king. When the prince became king; he built the pagoda at the venue of the Royal Umbrella. It was among the last-built of the great pagodas and temples of Bagan.
Shwegugyi – literally means “the Golden Cave” in Myanmar language. It is located in front of the royal palace and therefore also known as the “NandawOoPaya” meaning the “Pagoda in front of the palace”. Built by King Alaungsithu in 1311 A.D, this cave temple showcases a transition in architectural style from the dark and cloistered to the airy and light. The temple is also famous for its fine stucco and carved wooden doors in the interior.
Sulamani – built in 1183 A.D by King Narapatisithu. The entrance of this massive cave pagoda was decorated superb architectural works of art. There are also wall ink writings of later Innwa and Konbaung periods. Legend had it that the King spotted the place exuding ruby-like brilliance and was inspired to build a pagoda there but it happened to be a gorge so he had it filled with earth despite his mentor monk’s entreaties. The monk was about to leave the kingdom when the king begged for forgiveness and sought advice to build the pagoda.
Gubyaukgyi – the temple with a spire resembling the Mahabodhi Temple at Buddha Gaya in India. This temple is noted for its wall paintings, depicting scenes from the previous lives of the Buddha. Tourists can have a great chance in viewing the ancient carvings, paintings.
Shwezigon Pagoda – Shwezigon is considered as Bagan’s most significant shrine, 160 feet high and 160 feet wide at the base. It is said that the structure was built to enshrine one of the four replicas of the Buddha’s tooth in Kandy, Sri Lanka. This pagoda inspires faith even today, bringing joy to the hearts of monks and laymen alike as they behold its brilliant golden color. The construction was started by King Anawrahta, but the project was not completed until the rule of King Kyanzittha.
Lastly, head to Shwesandaw pagoda to capture breathtaking sunset – the place to end your day touring the temples and take in the incredible sunset.Drive back to Bagan. Dinner and overnight in Bagan hotel.
Your driver will pick you up at 6:45pm to drive to Nyaung U to catch the most sensational culture show in Bagan “Dandaree” (7pm – 8:20pm)
Back to hotel after the show
Day 4: Bagan – Mandalay – Ava – Sagging Hill – Amarapura – Mandalay
Check out from hotel and take morning flight from Bagan to Mandalay. Your guide will pick you up at the airport.
Then, you will start exploring this city of ancient kings. Drive to Ava, visit the old wooden Bagayar Monastery and the remains of the Royal Palace and Fort. There are many small villages located amid Ava’s ruins and as you travel by horse cart, you’ll get a glimpse of local life in the Myanmar countryside.
Return toward the city and continue to Sagaing Hill. Discover the numerous Buddhist monasteries; Uminthonze Pagoda and Sunooponnyashin Pagoda. Behold the panoramic view of Mandalay city.
Enjoy the Sunset at U Bein Bridge (200 year old world’s longest teak bridge. Stroll along and learn about the local way of living. Fishermen in the still waters, monks streaming crimson from one end to other, locals biking from shore to shore on their way home from work, etc). Then, visit silk-weaving workshops to observe how this piece of traditional fabric is made.
Back in Mandalay in the evening. Stop by at Mahamuni Pagoda (The holiest pagoda in Mandalay. The early morning ritual of washing the face of Buddha image draws a large crowd every day. Observe the art of stone sculpting nearby the pagoda.
In appreciation of arts and crafts, visit gold leave making workshops. Then, drive to Hotel for check in and rest for the night.
Day 5: Mandalay – PyinOoLwin – Mandalay
Breakfast at the hotel and your guide and driver will pick you up at your hotel. Then drive to PyinOoLwin one of the most beautiful hill stations in Myanmar.
Arrive in PyinOoLwin and start visiting National Kandawgyi Garden – the garden features more than 480 species of flowers, trees and shrubs.
PweKauk Waterfall (BE waterfall) – a very pleasant picnic spot loved by many local families and known as Hampshire fall in British times.
Peik Chin Myaung Cave – also known as MahaNandamu Cave and is filled with so many Buddha images and pagodas in various sizes and position at every corners and niches.
Mahar Ant Htoo Kan Thar Pagoda – it’s located on the way to the cave and BE waterfall. Appreciate the scenic views towards Lashio from its terraces.
PyinOoLwin Market – time for shopping! You can get all products from wines, strawberry jam and coffee to various kinds of woolen clothes; one of the most famous product of PyinOoLwin.
Drive back and overnight in Mandalay
Day 6: Mandalay – Heho (Inle Lake)
After breakfast, check out and off to airport to catch morning flight to Heho airport (Inle Lake). Upon arrival, your station guide will meet you and drive you to Nyaung Shwe jetty.
From jetty, take a boat trip to your hotel on Inle Lake.
After check in, starts Inle sightseeing. First, visit PhaungDawOo Pagoda – one of the famous principal shrines and the important religious site in the Shan State. The pagoda houses five small golden Buddha images but they have been covered with so many gold leaves that it is impossible to see their original structure.
Floating gardens (observe how Inle locals grow vegetables & fruit in large gardens that float on the surface of the lake)
Then, visit lotus & silk weaving villages & traditional handicraft workshops at Inpawkhon village as well as Shan cheroot making workshop at Nam Pan village.
Next, head to Ywama village, largest village on the lake – home to the skilled silversmiths & ceremonial silverwares.
Back to hotel and overnight in Inle.
Day 7: Inle – Indein
After breakfast at the hotel, your guide will take you to visit Indein through a boat trip.
Visit Intha Tribe / Pa-Oh village and observe their daily life.
Indein – a Pa-Oh village located on the western banks of the lake and travel down a small canal covered in hundreds of ancient stupas & enjoy the mesmerizing view of the lake and visit Pa-Oh villages to get to know and interact with the simple & friendly Pa-Oh tribes.
Through a small trek, you will reach ShweIndein pagoda, ancient and crumbling, ornate stucco carvings of mythical animals.
Take a boat ride back to your hotel in Inle Lake and rest up for the night.
Day 8: Inle – Heho – Thandwe – Ngapali
In afternoon, transfer to NyaungShwe Jetty, drive to Heho airport. Flight to Thandwe, Ngapali – one of the most stunning beaches in Myanmar. Overnight in Ngapali.
Day 9: Ngapali (Thandwe)
At your own leisure
Day 10: Ngapali – Yangon
Next, visit Bogyoke Aung San market (Scott market) – this popular market in downtown area offers a good selection of gem stones, traditional fabric & costumes, handicrafts, arts & paintings, souvenirs, etc. Before you transfer to Bogyoke Market, you can take some times to do shopping before going home. Bargain …bargain…bargain before buying anything. (This market is closed on Mondays & Gazetted Holidays. In the event when tour dates coincide with the market holidays, we will arrange a suitable activity.)
Next, head to Botataung pagoda – situated way downtown beside the Yangon River. The Pagoda overlooked the pleasant water front of the river. The 40 meter high golden pagoda enshrines a sacred hair relic of the Buddha.
Then, take a short tour to feel the other side of town Yangon. “Colonial Charm”!
The crowded city you see today was once ruled by the British Empire and many Victorian-style buildings have survived the ravages of time and retained their glory. Colonial architecture is visible in large numbers of religious buildings, administrative offices, cinemas and residential properties in Yangon, especially close to the downtown area.
Then, transfer back to your hotel and overnight in Yangon.
Day 11: Depart Yangon
Check out from the hotel and transfer to Yangon international airport to take your international flight back home.
END OF TOUR