Yangon - Bagan - Mandalay - Heho
Number of Days:
Myanmar (formerly Burma) is slowly emerging from decades of political self-imposed isolation making it today, one of the least Western-influenced countries in the world. Having been in recluse for most of the late 20th century, the country offers an opportunity to observe cultures and peoples that have had little contact with the outside world. For the majority of the population, Buddhism is the center of individual life and the monastery is the center of the community. The country's diverse landscape includes the beauty of the Plains of Bagan; the major river highway of the Ayeyarwaddy; the mystifying Inle Lake situated in the middle of the Shan State; the snow-capped Himalayan mountains in the north, and the pristine white sand beaches of the coastline. Despite the political issues, socially responsible travel in Myanmar is an opportunity to understand the country, its culture and people and to be a spokesperson for the Burmese outside of their country.
2017 Departures: Daily
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Yangon - Bagan - Mandalay - Heho
Day 1 Arrive Yangon, Myanmar
Arrive Yangon where you will meet your guide and transfer to your hotel. You will have the rest of the day on your own.
Day 2 Yangon B
Today will explore the downtown area of Yangon. Starting at the Sule Pagoda that marks the center of the city and continue through the streets of the downtown area. Home to some of the most splendidly kept colonial buildings meshed with ancient Pagoda’s. Stroll the bazaar at Scott Market (Bogyoke Market) (closed on Monday) amid shops filled with antiques, old coins, Burmese jade and handicrafts. Savor lunch in a local restaurant followed by a visit to the Reclining Buddha at Chauk Htat Gyi Pagoda, a 213-footlong statue with an expressive enamel face. View the story of the Buddha’s life embossed on the soles of the statue’s staggered feet. At sunset, visit Shwedagon Pagoda, the most sacred Buddhist site in Myanmar. Tradition holds it has stood for 2,600 years, making it the oldest historical pagoda in the world. Marvel as its round, gilded stupa captures the rays of the warm afternoon sun, lending a crowning moment to your Burmese adventure.
Tonight, gather for a welcome dinner at the hotel.
Day 3 Yangon - Bagan B
Fly to Bagan. Today we encounter everyday Burmese life, at the bustling Nyaung Oo fruit and vegetable market and at Phwar Saw Village. Bagan known as the city of “four million pagodas” is one of the richest and greatest sites in Asia. The temples at Bagan can only be described as amazing and enchanting, you will explore the temples and the surrounding area, visit local artisans known for their lacquerware famous for using techniques handed down for generations. The most amazing component of Bagan is the thousands of ancient Pagodas scattered throughout Bagan. The only way to truly appreciate the beauty of Bagan is at sunset from the top of a Pagoda to see the panoramic view of the temples surrounding you.
Day 4 Bagan B
You may wish to rise early for a wondrous balloon ride over Bagan as the rising sun illuminates the gold and sand colored stupas. Visit the temples by Horse Cart to explore some of the lesser visited areas which cannot be reached by today’s vehicles. The rest of the day is at leisure to explore on your own.
Day 5 Bagan/ Irrawaddy Cruise B L D
Spend the next 2 nights on a boat cruise the Irrawaddy River. Spend the afternoon cruising, watching the Irrawaddy River from the promenade deck or from the air conditioned comfort of your stateroom. Pass magical scenes of old Asia, women pounding their laundry on rocks, old paddle steamers churning the muddy waters, ox carts inching down rutted roads and small children waving gaily at passing vessels. Afternoon tour of Pakokku by trishaw
Day 6 Irrawaddy Cruise B L D
Spend more time relaxing on board the Pandaw as it sails down the Irrawaddy, there is plenty of activity on the river banks as locals go about their everyday lives. Walk around the pottery village at Yandabo a small village with no road access. Continue the leisurely sail downstream. Enjoy stops in small villages to meet locals, and explore beautiful remote pagodas.
Day 7 Irrawaddy Cruise - Mandalay B
Disembark in Mandaly, the last capital of the third Myanmar Empire and visit Amarapura, the royal ancient capital with its textile workshops. Visit Mahamuni Pagoda, home to a golden statue that according to the local tradition h was cast in the presence of the Gautama Buddha, said to represent his one true likeness. Stop at Shwenandaw Monastery and at Kuthodaw Pagoda to marvel at more than 700 marble slabs inscribed with Buddhist religious texts, referred to by some as the biggest book in the world. Later, drive to the top of Mandalay Hill for a spectacular sunset
Day 8 Mandalay - Heho - Inle Lake B
Fly to Heho and continue by road and boat to Inle Lake. While sightseeing by boat you will visit the five Buddha images of Phaung Daw Oo Pagoda, the holiest in Inle Lake and market. The images have been covered in so much gold they look like balls of solid gold. Visit the grand monastery of Nga Phe Kyaung, and floating garden where you can see the magic of the unique one-legged rowers of Inle Lake.
On the way back to the hotel stop to see some of the fishermen on the lake skillfully rowing with one leg while fishing at the same time.
Day 9 Inle Lake B
This morning explore the villages by boat. Visit Nampan village to see local cigar (cheroot) making and canoe making and the silk weaving village, Inn Paw Khone to see how intricate the design and manufacture of silk products. Optional visit to hill tribes’ villages along the lake. You will see the famous Intha fishermen rowing their fishing boats with a swirling move of their leg and the floating gardens, where villagers actually grow tidy rows of vegetables on the lake’s surface.
Day 10 Inle Lake - Heho - Yangon B
Morning transfer to Heho for the return flight to Yangon. Arrive Yangon and transfer to the city to visit the vibrant fresh fruit market and the Chinatown and the National Museum, if time permits.