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Insight Myanmar

8 Days / 7 Nights

 Day 1: Yangon, arrival  Day 5: Mandalay – Amarapura – Ava – Sagaing – Mandalay
 Day 2: Yangon – Bagan  Day 6: Mandalay – Heho – Inle Lake
 Day 3: Bagan  Day 7: Indein – Inle Lake – Heho – Yangon
 Day 4: Bagan – Mandalay  Day 8: Yangon, departure

Day 1: Arrive Yangon                                                                                                                                                               (-/-/-)

Upon arrival, you will be greeted and welcome by your guide who will accompany you as you transfer to your hotel for check in.

Yangon, formerly capital of Myanmar and known as Rangoon, planned and built by the British after the second Anglo-Burmese war in mid 19 century.  Therefore,city is full of impressive colonial and different spiritual heritages,making it one of the most fascinating cities in Southeast Asia. Today,Yangon still remains as commercial city although the authority moved administration capital to Nyi Pyi Taw in 2005.

After lunch, visit Kyaukhtatgyi Pagoda which is home to a 70-metre long reclining Buddha image;and surrounded by monasteries. Therefore, a visit to Kyaukhtatgyi provides a great overview of Buddhism, with murals depicting the life of Buddha and the monastic’s life. The soles of the statue are covered with traditional symbols;and locals can often be seen gathering there to pay homage and pray.

Continue to a local tea shop for a chance to experience a part of Burmese daily life: Enjoy drinking tea or coffee along with tasteful Myanmar snacks while sitting amongst businessmen, friends and families who gather at the tea shop to socialise or conduct business.

Next explore to Kandawgyi lake Park, one of central Yangon’s greenest spots. The park its self  is composed by 13 small islands connected each other by a walkway bridge. The lake is half man made and half natural. Here, enjoy the glittering Karaweik Barge, a replica of the Royal Barge, with the vast lake and views of Shwedagon in the background. Depending on the day and time of visit, Kandawgyi may be busy with local families who come on the weekend to relax in the fresh air and enjoy selection of food and beverages.

After the lake, continue the tour to Shwedagon Pagoda, the most revered Buddhist temple in Myanmar. Most Buddhist devotees believe that it was built in the time of Lord Gotama Buddha more than  2500 years ago;although the origins of the pagoda is unclear. The Pagoda  has been  renovated several times before taking its current shape in the 15th century. The 76.5 carats diamond on top, More than 80 thousand pieces of different Gems studded spire, more than three tons of gold leaf gilded  central stupa-about 100 metres tall, surrounded by 64 smaller stupas at the upper platform.

(Overnight in Yangon.)

Distances and approximate journey time: Yangon Airport to Yangon city centre (20 km): 30 – 60 mins

Day 2: Yangon – Bagan                                                                                                                                                         (B/-/-)

After breakfast at the hotel, transfer to the airport for a flight to Bagan (Nyaung U).

Bagan was the capital of Myanmar from the 11th to 13th century. During this period, there were 11 kings reigned and;constructed thousands of huge stupas and temples, more than 2000  monuments are still standing today.

On arrival, the journey begins with a visit to the golden stupa of Shwezigon Pagoda which is built of sand stone.Then, visit Kyansitta Umin , Wetkyi-In Gubyaukgyi- a cave temple with exquisite jataka mural paintings; and end the morning tour with  a huge elegant Htilominlo Temple- well-known for its fine plaster carvings and glazed sandstone decorations.

Lunch and back to hotel for avoiding the heat of the day for a while.

In the afternoon, begin a tour to traditional lacquerware workshop, observe the skillful and quality production of one of Myanmar’s best-known handicrafts. Continue to Ananda Temple, an architectural masterpiece and one of Bagan’s most beautiful temples. Next,continue to Thatbyinnyu- the highest temple in Bagan, Dhammayangyi-the biggest temple with its remarkable brickwork, and Sulamani Temple.

End the joyful day with an unforgettable sunset over the holy archeology plains from the sunset hill, then back to the hotel for the evening.

(Overnight in Bagan.)

Distances and approximate journey time:

  • Nyaung U Airport to Old Bagan (9 km): 20 mins
  • Nyaung U Airport to New Bagan (12 km): 20 mins

Day 3: Bagan                                                                                                                                                                          (B/-/-)

After breakfast, visit the colourful Nyaung Oo Market where locals gather every day to buy and sell their products and other goods. Continue by car to Myinkaba Village and take a short walking tour to explore the temples of Manuha and Nan Paya of the Mon king. Continue by car to Raja Kumar temple, the most well known for its wall painting, then continue to four in one  Mya Cedi inscriptions. Next, to Naga Yone temple, observe its wooden mixed structure at the entrance and the main door.

Lunch and  return to the hotel for a break to relax from the midday heat.

In the afternoon, continue to the rural village of Minnanthu where you may explore in the village on foot then to temples such as Payathonzu and Nandamannya before heading to the riverside pier. Board a local boat, enjoy and  observe the lifestyle of fishermen and riverside villagers and take in the unique perspective of Bagan’s temples while cruising down the Ayeyarwady as the river goes by until the sun goes down.

Return to the hotel in the evening.

(Overnight in Bagan.)

Day 4: Bagan – Mandalay                                                                                                                                                       (B/-/-)

After breakfast in the morning, transfer to the airport for a flight to Mandalay.

Upon arrival, begin a sightseeing tour of Mandalay with a visit to Mahamuni Pagoda. It is home to the  second most  revered Buddha image in the country, worship as a living Buddha. The image is being covered with gold by devotees that it has attained a unique and iconic ‘lumpy’ texture.

From there, continue the sightseeing of traditional workshops,observe the production of wood carvings, stone carving,tapestries, parasol paper making and gold-leaf making; where the techniques remained unchanged since the ancient time .
This afternoon, continue the tour of Mandalay with a visit to Kuthodaw Pagoda-with 729 marble stone slabs of Buddhist scriptures have earned it the title ‘World’s Biggest Book’. Continue visit to grand teak wood building with exquisite woodcarving- Shwenandaw Monastery;the only remaining building from the 19th century Royal Palace.

Then head up to top of Mandalay Hill, enjoy magnificent views of the city and Irrawaddy River from the highest vantage point in the area until sun set.

(Back to hotel and overnight in Mandalay.)

Distances and approximate journey time:

  • Mandalay Airport to Mandalay city centre (41 km): 60 mins

Day 5: Mandalay – Amarapura – Ava – Sagaing – Mandalay                                                                                               (B/-/-)

After breakfast, the day tour begins in the morning to explore the former royal cities of Ava, Sagaing and Amarapura.

First, cross a bridge over the Irrawaddy River to Sagaing town, then go up to Sagaing hill covered with 600 pagodas and monasteries, regarded as the religious centre of Myanmar.  It is home to more than 3,000 monks and 100 meditation centres. Visit pagodas such as Swan Oo Pon Nya Shin, believe to have contained two relics of Buddha; the highest point to see panorama view of Ayeyarwaddy River, Sagaing town, Mandalay and its hill in far distance under clear sky. Then continue to U Min Thone Sae, which means 30 caves, however you will see 45 Buddhas sitting in  a crescent-shaped colonnade and housed on the side of the hill. On the way back from the hill, visit a nunnery at the foot hill to observe their daily life.

Then, visit Sagaing’s local market- a range of items for sale including locally made pottery, silver and other handicrafts. Next, stop at a small pottery village to see the process of making the ubiquitous water pots found throughout Myanmar, then to silversmith.

Then continue the tour to Ava, the Burmese capital from the 14th to 18th centuries. At the jetty, take ferry boat to cross Myit Nge river, at the other bank transfer to horse cart  to explore the old royal city.

First visit the old wooden Bagaya Monastery passing through the village and farm with new experience of transportation. The Monastery itself is the part of the Royal Palace. Next passing small villages located amid Ava’s ruins and, while travelling by horse cart, get a glimpse of local life in the Burmese countryside. Climbed up on to the leaning tower of Ava, enjoy the surrounding panorama view, then continue to famous Me Nu Brick Monastery-recorded as the first brick monastery of Myanmar. Then we’ll stop for lunch in Ava before returning to our car.

Return toward royal city Amarapura, meaning ‘City of Immortality’of the last dynasty Konbaung Era. First visit a silk weaving workshop and some step of its process, which produces excellent handmade products. After that, continue the tour to U Bein Bridge for a walk along its 200 year-old and longest teak wood bridge of the world. The bridge was constructed of 984 teak wood posts over Taung Thaman Lake and 1.2 kilometre in length.

This place is one of the best photo opportunity of Asia.  The vast panorama view of activities in the lake, the bridge itself, the movement of people over the bridge, under the golden ray of sunlight when the sun begins to dip behind the horizon. Afterwards, head back to the hotel in Mandalay.

(Overnight in Mandalay.)

Distances and approximate journey time:

  • Mandalay-Amarapura (13 km): 30 mins
  • Mandalay-Sagaing (21 km): 50 mins

Day 6: Mandalay – Heho – Inle Lake                                                                                                                                     (B/-/-)

After breakfast, transfer to Mandalay Airport for a flight to Heho.

From Heho airport, a scenic one-hour slightly downhill drive leads to Shwe Nyaung , then to Nyaung Shwe, the gateway village to Inle Lake. Along the way, stop at the wooden Shwe Yan Pyay Monastery of the 19th century ,which features beautiful carvings and a collection of Buddha images. You may enter the monastery for observing monastics life. Continue the tour and stop in Nyaung Shwe for a short walk around town and visit to the colourful market if it is on the 5 day market rotation date.

Upon reaching the edges of canal of Inle Lake, board a private open motorboat to explore Inle Lake. The inhabitants in the lake are known Intha, one of the 135 peoples of Myanmar. Sail and pass through villages built on stilts over the lake, observe the famous leg-rowing fishermen and see their floating gardens built up from strips of water hyacinth and mud; anchored to the bottom with bamboo poles. Visit Phaung Daw Oo Pagoda, the lake’s most holiest sanctuary, home to five sacred Buddha images covered in gold leaf.

Explore the local crafts of Inle Lake with a stop at the weaving village of Inpawkhone, where you may see also the lotus fibre weaving, blacksmith, silversmith and a cheroot factory where traditional Burmese cheroot and cigars are made by hand.

If time permits, stop and  enjoy a short walk through one of the lakeside villages. It best to end the tour before 5PM.

(Overnight on Inle Lake)

Distances and approximate journey time:

  • Heho Airport to Nyaung Shwe (28 km): 45 mins
  • Nyaung Shwe Jetty to Hotel on Inle Lake (10 – 20 km): 30 – 60 mins

Day 7: Indein – Inle Lake – Heho – Yangon                                                                                                                          (B/-/-)

After breakfast, visit the lake’s  5day morning market. The market rotates its location around the lake’s villages in a 5-day rhythm and is visited by lake inhabitants and surrounding hill tribes who come to sell and trade their products. (Note: market closed  on dark-moon day and full-moon day).

From the five day market, continue down a small canal leading to the Pa-oh village of Indein.  Explore the area on foot, strolling around the village and wandering through the beautiful ancient stupas and temples of Alaung Sitthu of Bagan Era. From here, magnificent views of the lake below are unforgettable.

After the tour in Indein, sail the same canal then pass through the main lake to Nyaung Shwe, then drive to the Heho Airport for the flight to Yangon. Upon arrival, transfer to the hotel.

(Overnight in Yangon.)

Day 8: Depart Yangon                                                                                                                                                             (B/-/-)

Depending on flight time, there is an option to take a ride on Yangon’s Circle Train in the morning. Or visit and shoping at Bogyoke Market, formerly known as Scott’s Market before transferring to Yangon International Airport for the onward flight.

(Note: Market is closed on Mondays and on public holidays)