Yangon – Inle – Indein – Mandalay – Sagaing – Ava – Amarapura – Mingun – Cruise – Bagan
This exhaustive tour covers the most important visit sites of Myanmar with a luxury cruise on the Ayeyarwaddy, between Mandalay and Bagan.
Upon arrival at the Yangon airport, young ladies, dressed in national attire, welcomes your party with jasmine flower garlands. You will be gifted with a traditional shoulder bag and a Myanmar country map. Transfer to your hotel and check-in.
Yangon, the largest city, is the main gateway to Myanmar. Ever green and cool with lush tropical trees, shady parks and beautiful lakes, the vibrant city is unique in South East Asia. The main attractions in Yangon are the world famous Shwedagon Pagoda, believed to have been built more than 2500 year ago and the downtown area with numerous ancient colonial buildings.
After lunch, visit Chaukhtetgyi Pagoda; a 65 m long reclining Buddha, a first step to introduce Myanmar’s Buddhism and learn about the previous lives of Buddha as described on the feet of the statue. On the walkway, fortune-tellers are sure to provide an interesting experience.
Then you will be taken to the heart of the city to get a feel of the hustle and bustle of Yangon. Visit the Colonial Quarter with heritage buildings dating from the British era. See the High Court, Yangon City Hall, Myanmar Port Authority, the Post Office. the Custom House and other less famous yet remarkable landmarks.
In the late afternoon, visit to the Shwedagon Pagoda with its world famous glittering gold stupa.
Sunset at the Shwedagon Pagoda will most certainly leave a profound impression, one of the most intense memories of your trip. The platform of the pagoda is always lively with local pilgrims, monks and nuns, who come to pay their respects to the Lord Buddha, donate flowers, light candles and pray. Walking around the pagoda’s platform, you will get a glimpse of the strong beliefs in Buddhism and will admire ancient Myanmar decorative arts, the astrological dimension. You will be mesmerized by the rhythmic sounds of chants and the tinkling of the bells.
Overnight in Yangon
After breakfast, transfer to the airport for your flight to Heho the gateway to the Shan country. Upon landing, meet your new driver and travel to Nyaung Shwe (-28 km), an ancient capital of Shan state, at the entrance of Inle Lake. First, visit The Shwe Yan Pyay Monastery, just outside Nyaung Shwe, a fascinating wooden monastery which is a very interesting red painted teak wood building with oval windows, richly decorated with mosaics and golden ornaments. Great photography !
After check-in at the hotel, depart to explore the exquisite sights of Inle Lake by longtail boat. See the Inthar floating villages scattered along the lake, the unique leg rowers and their traditional fishing methods, the floating farms and more than anything, the sheer beauty of the lake itself.
Visit the Phaung Daw Oo Pagoda; the main sanctuary of Inle Lake which houses five ancient images of the Buddha completely covered in golf leaf and the Nga phe Chaung monastery; the biggest and oldest monastery with a collection of old Myanmar’s Buddha images from different areas, definitely worth seeing.
Lunch at a local restaurant on the lake followed by an amazing visit to a silk and lotus weaving workshop and watch the fascinating process of silk and lotus production in the weaving sheds. The rhythmic clacking of the looms will take you to ancient days. Last stop at cheroot making workshop where local women roll Burmese traditional cigars by hand.
In the late afternoon, slowly return to your hotel. The day ends by taking in the sunset on the boat and enjoying the unforgettable scenic beauty of Inle Lake.
Overnight in Inle
After breakfast, visit to the rotating five day market which held once every five days at each village. See hill tribe people come down from nearby villages to sell and trade their goods. (Note: the market is daily except on dark moon days and full moon days).
From there, your boat travels to Indein, an ancient Pa-O pagoda complex set in a beautiful picturesque corner of the lake. Take a pleasant walk through a bamboo forest to reach the ruins of 14th – 18th century Nyaung Ohak Pagoda. From there, a covered stairway with souvenir stalls leads to Shwe Indein Pagoda. From this privileged location, contemplate great views across the lake and its valley.
Lunch at a local restaurant. Try the avocado salad and a pizza made by ethnic Inthar using local vegetables. These local recipes are suitable for foreign tourists.
On your way back, stop and visit a few family-owned workshops: silversmiths, blacksmiths and boat fabrication.
Overnight in Inle
After your breakfast, a car is waiting to take you to the airport for your flight to Mandalay.
Mandalay is a former royal capital of Myanmar’s last dynasty. Today, Mandalay is the center of Myanmar culture and traditional arts and crafts and also a religious hub with hundreds of the country’s most important Buddhist monasteries.
Upon arrival, drive to Sagaing on the other side of the Ayeyarwaddy River. Sagaing is considered as the holiest site in the country mainly because of the 600 monasteries, home to more than 4,000 monks and 2,000 nuns. Visit U Min Thone Se and Soon Oo Pone Nya Shin Pagodas to enjoy the breath-taking panoramas view from the top of Sagaing Hill.
If the time permit, visit the Aung Myae Oo Monastic Education School that provides free education to under privilege students.
Continue south to Inwa (Ava), an ancient imperial capital from 14th to 19th centuries. Take a short ferry ride across of the river where your horse cart ride begins. Visit the Bagaya Monastery, a fine example of Myanmar masonry art and architecture, Mai Nu Brick Monastery, one of the finest examples of Myanmar architecture in 19th century with multiple roofs and an impressive prayer hall.. Then, proceed to the Old Watch Tower, a 30m unique solitary building. If time permits, take a stroll through the village to interact with local people and witness their natural way of life.
The last visit of the day is at Amarapura, another former capital nicknamed the Immortal City. Take a walk on U Bein bridge, the world’s largest and oldest wooden bridge with 1,086 teak posts that were reclaimed from the former royal palace in Ava. For sunset, celebrate cocktail hour on a romantic mini cruise on Lake Taungthaman, a peaceful, blissful moment after a busy day.
Return to Mandalay in the late afternoon.
Overnight in Mandalay
After breakfast, a short boat trip along the Ayeyarwaddy River (~ 1 hr) to visit Mingun village, 11 km north of Mandalay. Visit sites include: Pahtodawgyi, a giant brick stupa is constructed in 1970, Mingun Bell (90 tons), one of the world’s largest hanging bells, cast in 1808; the Mya Theindan Pagoda (1817) with its unique architecture symbolizing the Seven Seas of the Buddhist cosmology.
Back in Mandalay, visit the highly revered Mahamuni Bouddha, always buzzing with local and national devouts. Don’t miss a visit to the workshops where gold leaf are produced by ancestral methods. The afternoon tour continues with Shwenandaw Monastery noted for its exquisite wood carvings, followed by Kuthodaw Pagoda, also known as the World’s Biggest Book consisting of 729 marble slabs engraved with Buddhist scriptures. End the day with panoramic views of the city and another spectacular sunset at Mandalay Hill.
Overnight in Mandalay
The embarkation time is 10.00 hrs at SAGAING jetty and cast off half an hour later.
Welcome Cocktail and briefing in the Saloon or Sundeck followed by lunch.
Cruise the rest of the day. In the late afternoon stop to visit at Yandabo, a village specializing in clay pot-making. It is here that the peace treaty ending the First Anglo-Burmese war was signed on Feb. 24, 1826. Visit the pottery workshops and admire age-tested techniques.
Moor overnight near the village of Shwe Nann Tint
Early in the morning continue navigation downstream to Bagan.
Enjoy the sunrise on the outskirts of Bagan. After breakfast, disembark at Bagan Thar Yar Waddy Jetty by 9:30 hrs.
Transfer to your hotel in Bagan After checking-in to your room, your guide proposes a full day of sightseeing in the UNESCO designated World Heritage Site of Bagan.
Bagan is the richest archaeological site in South East Asia and had been the capital of Myanmar for two & half centuries (1044-1286 A.D). Bagan lies on the left bank of Ayeyarwaddy River and 190 km southwest of Mandalay. There are more than 2000 red-brick temples and stupas in an area of 104 square kilometer.
Start the morning visit with Shwezigon Pagoda; one of the oldest and impressive pagodas in Bagan, At Wetgyi Inn village, Gupyaukgyi temple boasts ancient mural paintings on the ceiling and interior walls depicting scenes from the Jataka tales, stories about the previous lives of the Buddha. Discover Htilominlo Temple; known for its elaborate plaster moldings and Ananda Temple; the most beautiful temple of all with several terraces leading to a small pagoda at the top covered by an umbrella, an ornament found in almost all pagodas in Myanmar.
Lunch at a local restaurant, relax at your hotel, have a swim in the pool maybe, take a break from the midday heat.
Later in the afternoon, visit Bagan by horse cart. See the Thatbyinnyu Temple; the highest temple in Bagan with over 60 m built in 12th century, Dhamanyangyi Temple; the most massive of all the temples in Bagan built in similar plan to that of Ananda Temple, Shwesandaw Pagoda with a series of five terraces built by King Anawrahta in 1057 AD.
End the day by enjoying the sunset over thousands temples.
Overnight in Bagan
After breakfast, continue your discovery of Bagan with Nyaung U Market where they sell daily fresh products, seasonal fruits, vegetables and flowers. The best time to visit the market is between 08:00 and 09:30 AM. After this rush of colors, sounds and smells, visit the Manuha Temple with three statues of seating Buddha and an image of Budhha entering Nirvana, followed by the Nanpaya Temple; a Hindu Temple with intricate carvings of Brahma and depictions of other Hindu gods. Afterwards, proceed to a workshop of Bagan’s most famous craft; lacquerware. See how artisans patiently polish lacquer-coated bamboo shells to create exquisite art pieces.
Traditional Burmese lunch at a local restaurant. Don’t forget to try Poneyaygyi, a pea powder paste, prepared as a vegetarian curry or a tangy salad.
After lunch, relax at your hotel, take a break from the midday heat.
In the early evening, visit the village of Minn Nan Thu to observe the simple ways of life of local folks, their home craft businesses and community. After that, see the pagodas surrounding this village; the unique Phayathonzu Temple, a complex of three temples conjoined through narrow passages, Nanda Mannya Temple with the interior walls decorated with fine frescoes and mural paintings. Sunset at Bupaya Pagoda, a pagoda in a gourd shape that stands on the bank of Ayeyarwaddy, one of the best places to enjoy sunset.
Overnight in Bagan
After breakfast, transfer to Nyaung-U airport for your domestic flight to Yangon.
Upon landing in Yangon, visit the colorful Bogyoke Aung San (Scott’s) Market (closed on every Monday & public holiday) where you will find a wealth of antiques, beautiful craftsmanship and high quality gems and jewelry.
In the evening, take a stroll around Chinatown to experience this busy part of Yangon with local teashops, restaurants, street sellers, exotic fruit vendors. Check out the food stalls serving crickets, grubs, worms and other bizarre foodstuff.
Overnight in Yangon
In the morning, enjoy at leisure until your departure flight. Your guide will accompany you to the airport and bid you farewell!
End of the Tour!