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Best of Myanmar

Best of Myanmar (13 Days/12 Nights)

DESTINATION  : Yangon - Kyaikhtiyo - Bgo - Inle - Kakku - Pindaya - Mandalay - Saggaing - Inwa - Mingun - Monywa - Phowintaung - Pakkoku - Bagan - Yangon
DURATION  : 13 Days/12 Nights
TOUR CODE  : FLMIT 09
DAY 01: ARRIVAL YANGON

yangon14Upon arrival, our tour guide will meet and transfer you to the hotel. Yangon is a relatively quiet and charming city. Its impressive colonial and spiritual heritage makes it one of the most fascinating cities in Southeast Asia. This afternoon, your journey begins with a visit around the city and its highlights. Proceed to Mindama Hill and visiting Kyaukhtatgyi Pagoda, which houses a 70-meter reclining Buddha and three white elephants. In the late afternoon, visit Shwedagon Pagoda, the most revered Buddhist temple in Myanmar. The central stupa is 90 meters tall and gilded with gold leaf. As the sun begins to set enjoy the breathtaking views of the Pagoda and surrounding skyline before transferring back to your hotel. Overnight in Yangon.

DAY 02: YANGON - KYAIKHTIYO

kyaikhteeyo03After breakfast drive to Kyaikhtiyo, the Golden Rock. Upon arrive at Kinmon Base Camp, (approximately 5 hrs). Travel by local, open-air truck along a winding road (45 minutes) where you be dropped off at the Ya The Taung junction camp to travel the final distance to Golden Rock on foot. The uphill trek is along a paved trekking path and offers great views of the surrounding area. For the persons who do not want to trek, four porters can carry you uphill in a specially-made sedan chair allowing you to enjoy the views. (the extra cost riding sedan chair is not included). After about one hour of trekking, reach the Golden Rock. A huge boulder covered by gold leaf and delicately balanced on the edge of a cliff, Golden Rock is one of Myanmar's main pilgrimage sites. The pagoda here is said to hold a hair of the Buddha and Buddhist from across the country come here to pay homage. Overnight in Golden Rock.

DAY 03: KYAIKHTIYO - BAGO - YANGON

bago01After breakfast, return to the base camp by open-air truck and begin the return journey to Yangon. En route, stop in Bago, the capital of the 6th century Mon kingdom. Your visit in Bago begins at Shwethalyaung Temple which houses a beautiful 55-meter long reclining Buddha. Continue to the Mon-style Shwemawdaw Pagoda, one of the most venerated in Myanmar and whose 114 meter spire is taller than the one at Shwedagon Pagoda. Before departing Bago, visit the well-restored former palace, Kanbozathadi, which was the marvel of Asia when it was originally built in the 16th century. Overnight in Yangon.

DAY 04: YANGON - HEHO - INLE LAKE

inle05After early breakfast at the hotel, transfer to the airport for the flight to Heho. From Heho, a scenic one-hour drive leads to Nyaung Shwe, the gateway village to Inle Lake. Along the way, stop at the wooden Shwe Yan Pyay Monastery which features beautiful carvings and a collection of Buddha images. Upon reaching the edges of Inle Lake, board a private motorboat to head out to Inle Lake, one of Myanmar's most spectacular sights. Pass villages built on stilts over the lake, inhabited by the local Intha people. Observe the leg-rowing fishermen and see their floating gardens built up from strips of water hyacinth and mud and anchored to the bottom with bamboo poles. Visit Nga Phe Chaung Monastery, which houses dozens of Shan Buddha Images, but is more famous for its unique 'jumping cats' who jump through hoops in the air! Continue to Phaung Daw Oo Pagoda, the lake's main sanctuary, which contains five sacred Buddha images covered in gold leaf. Explore the local crafts of Inle Lake with a stop at the weaving village of Inpawkhone and a cheroot factory, where the typical Burmese cigars are made by hand. If time permits, there may be time to enjoy a short walk through one of the lakeside villages. Overnight on Inle Lake.

DAY 05: INLE LAKE - KAKKU - INLE LAKE

kakku01Morning leave hotel by boat to Nyaung Shwe and two-hour drive by car to Kakku, a hidden treasure 46km south of Taunggyi with a magnificent collection of centuries old Buddhist stupas. More than 2,000 stupas have been built here in a small area of just one square km, surrounded by mountains and trees. Until very recently this area, which is inhabited by the colorful Pa-O tribes with their distinctive habits, was closed to visitors. A Pa O guide leads a tour around the area and introduces the customs and life of the Pa O people in the villages. On the way back to Nyaung Shwe, visit Taunggyi Market. Overnight on Lake Inle.

DAY 06: INLE LAKE - PINDAYA - HEHO - MANDALAY

pindaya02Enjoy a leisurely breakfast and morning around the Inle Lake before transferring to the Heho Airport. After half an hour flight to Mandalay, you will be transferred to your hotel (approximately 1 hour drive). Mandalay is the cultural center of Myanmar and its skilled craftsmen once supplied the Royal Court. After relaxing and freshening up at your hotel, drive to Mandalay Hill to watch the sun set over the city and the Irrawaddy River. Overnight in Mandalay.

DAY 07: MANDALAY - AMARAPURA - AVA - SAGAING - MANDALAY

sagaing01After breakfast at the hotel, depart for an excursion around Mandalay to explore the former capitals of Amarapura, Ava and Sagaing. Begin your morning attending a special ceremony in Amarapura. Witness the alms collection at Mahagandayon monastery, when over one-thousand monks gather to collect their daily meal from the local Buddhists. After this beautiful spectacle, continue to a nearby silk weaving workshop which produces exquisite handmade products. Continue to Ava, the capital from 14th to 18th centuries, and travel by traditional horse and carriage to visit the old wooden Bagaya Monastery and the remains of the town's Royal Palace and fort. This afternoon, cross the bridge over the Irrawaddy River to Sagaing. Covered with 600 white-painted pagodas and monasteries, Sagaing Hill is widely regarded as the religious center of Myanmar and is home to 3,000 monks and 100 meditation centers. Visit Swan Oo Pon Nya Shin Pagoda, U Min Thone Sae' Pagoda and Shin Pin Nan Gyaing Pagoda. As the sun begins to set, walk along U Bein Bridge for fabulous views. This 200 year-old bridge is constructed entirely from teak and spans over 2 kilometers in length. Overnight in Mandalay.

DAY 08: MANDALAY - MINGUN - MANDALAY

mingun02After breakfast, transfer to the Mandalay jetty and board a private local boat for a 1-hr cruise on the Irrawaddy River to Mingun.

Visit the main sites of Mingun beginning with the famous Mingun Pahtodawqyi. This huge brick structure was left unfinished after an astrologer predicted the King's would die should the temple be completed. In the 1800s, an earthquake left several large cracks in the structure. Continue your visit at the beautiful white Hsinbyume Pagoda whose distinctive style is meant to resemble the mythical Mount Meru. Then, see the Mingun Bell which weighs 90 tons and is considered the world's largest un-cracked ringing bell. Return to Mandalay and visit Mahamuni Pagoda. This pagoda is home to one of the country's most revered Buddha images which, over the years, has been covered with gold leaf giving it an almost 'lumpy' texture. Mandalay is well known for its skilled craftsmen and as you tour traditional workshops, you will learn more about the city's cottage industries. Observe the production of wood carvings, kalaga tapestries, and gold-leaf where the techniques remained unchanged from those used centuries ago to craft items for the Royal Court. Continue your tour of Mandalay with a visit to Kuthodaw Pagoda, whose 729 marble stone slabs of Buddhist scriptures have earned it the title 'World's Biggest Book'. Continue to Shwenandaw Monastery, the only remaining building from the 19th century Royal Palace. This grand teak building is known for its exquisite woodcarving. Overnight in Mandalay.

DAY 09: MANDALAY - MONYWA - PHO WIN DAUNG - MONYWA

monywa01After breakfast leave Mandalay for a 3-hour drive to Monywa, a typical Burmese town on the banks of the Chindwin River.

On the way, visit Thanboddhay Pagoda, a huge Buddhist temple covered with more than 500,000 Buddha images. Also stop at Boditahtaung Pagoda which houses the largest reclining Buddha image in Myanmar, at 100m long and 27m high. This afternoon, cross the Chindwin River by ferry and proceed to Po Win Taung by local open-air jeeps. This extraordinary complex consists of 947 sandstone caves dug out of the hills and contains what is considered by archaeologists to be the richest collection of mural paintings and Buddhist statues in Southeast Asia. After visiting Po Win Taung, continue a few hundred meters away to Shwe Ba Taung. Spend time exploring this interesting site where monasteries and temples are carved out rocky narrow cliffs.

Overnight in Monywa.

DAY 10: MONYWA - PAKKOKU - BAGAN

bagan12After breakfast leave Monywa and travel along the quiet eastern river bank. The road less traveled' takes you passed traditional villages where you may see farmers climbing palm trees to extract juice from which they will produce palm tree sugar. Stop at Ma U Ma Le village for an opportunity to learn more about the lifestyle and culture of the countryside residents. Just 20 kilometers south of Pakokku, stop at the small village of Myitchay. This town has a rich craftwork tradition and produces handmade goods such as colorful woven blankets, papier-mache toys and traditional sandals. Enjoy a short rickshaw ride through town before continuing to the port at Pakkoku. This afternoon we board a local boat in Pakkoku for a leisurely, two hour cruise downriver to Bagan. Upon reaching the shores of Bagan, transfer to the hotel. Overnight in Bagan.

DAY 11: BAGAN

bagan04After breakfast explore the wonders of Bagan with a full-day tour. From the 11th to 13th centuries, when Bagan was the capital of Myanmar, the rulers of constructed thousands of huge stupas and temples many of which are still standing today on the banks of the Irrawaddy River. Your journey begins with a visit to the golden stupa of Shwezigon Pagoda for an introduction in to Bagan's rich history. Then, visit to nearby Wetkyi-In Gubyaukgyi, a cave temple with exquisite jataka mural paintings and the elegant Htilominlo Temple noted for its fine plaster carvings and glazed sandstone decorations.

This afternoon begin with a visit to Ananda Temple, an architectural masterpiece and one of Bagan's most beautiful temples. Built in the early Mon-style, Ananda contains two unique Buddha images whose expressions seem to change depending on the distance from which the statue is viewed. Neighboring Ananda Okkyaung is one of the few surviving brick monasteries from the early Bagan period and is filled with intricate paintings.

From here, travel by horse cart for a tour passing Thatbyinnyu, the highest temple in Bagan, massive Dhammayangyi Temple, noted for its remarkable brickwork, and Sulamani Temple. If time allows, enjoy an unforgettable sunset over the plains from the upper terrace of one of the temples. Overnight in Bagan.

DAY 12: BAGAN - YANGON

bagan13Early morning ride a hot-air balloon flight over the plains of Bagan. Enjoy the fabulous views as the sun rises over the stupas and Irrawaddy River. This is truly an unforgettable and unique experience! (Note: available only from October to March). After breakfast, transfer to Ngat Pyit Taung Monastery and explore the temple's caves to observe about local tradition and spiritual beliefs of the Burmese. Then, visit the Monastic Primary School where you can visit with the local children who are studying their lessons. Be greeted by their warm smiles and enjoy playing with and meeting the students. Although friendly and welcoming, the children come from a very underprivileged area and a small donation of cash or school supplies will ensure a brighter future for these students. This afternoon, continue to the rural village of Minnanthu, one of Bagan's least visited areas. Late this afternoon, transfer to the Nyaung Oo airport for the flight to Yangon. Upon arrival, transfer to the hotel. Overnight in Yangon.

DAY 13: YANGON DEPARTURE

Free at leisure until transfer to Yangon International Airport for your departure flight.

 

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