Arrive in Yangon and transfer to hotel. Yangon, formerly known as Rangoon, is still a relatively quiet and charming city. Its impressive colonial and spiritual heritage makes Yangon one of the most fascinating and authentic capitals of South-East Asia. After lunch, a city tour includes the National Museum, Kyaukhtatgyi Pagoda’s 70m long reclining Buddha, downtown Yangon with its faded colonial atmosphere, Sule Pagoda, Mahabandoola Park, India town and bustling China town.
Overnight in Yangon.
After breakfast at the hotel, transfer to airport for the flight to Mandalay. On arrival, a sightseeing tour of Mandalay, Myanmar’s cultural capital, features Mahamuni Pagoda, famous for its venerable statue of Buddha covered with gold leaf. Mandalay has long been known as a centre of skilled craftsmanship and in former times supplied the royal courts. A tour of traditional workshops includes crafts such as woodcarving, marble masonry, Kalaga tapestry and gold-leaf making. After lunch visit to Mandalay Palace, Kuthodaw Pagoda with its 729 marble stone slabs of Buddhist scriptures (known as the world’s biggest book) and Shwenandaw Monastery, noted for its exquisite woodcarving. Enjoy the sunset from Mandalay Hill.
Overnight in Mandalay.
After breakfast at the hotel depart for a full day trip to the former capitals of Amarapura, Ava and Sagaing. The day begins with a visit to the 18th century capital, Amarapura where the country’s largest monastery, Mahaganda Yon Monastery, is located. Continue to the 200 year-old U Bein Bridge, constructed entirely from teak and a silk weaving workshop. Proceed to Ava, the capital from 14th to 18th centuries and visit by horse and carriage the old wooden Bagaya Monastery and the remains of the Royal Palace and fort.
Lunch on the way. In the afternoon cross the bridge over the Irrawaddy River and continue to Sagaing. Covered with 600 white-painted pagodas and monasteries, Sagaing Hill is widely regarded as the religious centre of Myanmar and is home to 3,000 monks and 100 meditation centres.
Overnight in Mandalay.
After breakfast at the hotel, transfer to the jetty for a boat trip to Bagan. As it sails southwards, the riverboat passes many villages offering a glimpse into the way of life along the Irrawaddy River . Arrive in Bagan late in the afternoon. On the dry plain of central Myanmar by the banks of the Irrawaddy River stands Bagan, one of the most remarkable archaeological sites in Asia . The 230 years, from 11 th to 13 th centuries, when Bagan was the capital of Myanmar, were marked by a religious fervour and building frenzy resulting in the thousands of stupas and temples many of which are still standing today.
Overnight in Bagan.
After breakfast, morning sightseeing of Bagan features the colourful Nyaung Oo Market, the Shwezigon Pagoda and its magnificent golden stupa, Wetkyi-In Gubyaukgyi, a cave temple with exquisite jatakas murals paintings and the elegant Htilominlo Temple noted for its fine plaster carvings and glazed sandstone decorations. In the afternoon observe the process of traditional lacquerware, one of Myanmar’s best-known handicrafts and a specialty of Bagan. Visit Ananda, an architectural masterpiece of the early-style temple with four impressive standing Buddha images, Ananda Okkyaung, one of the few surviving brick monasteries from the early Bagan period and Thatbyinnyu the highest temple in Bagan rising to 61m. End the day with a horse and carriage tour among the temples passing by the traditional village of Taungbi, Sulamani Temple and the massive Dhammayangyi Temple noted for its remarkable brickwork. Enjoy sunset over the site from the upper terrace of Myauk Guni Temple. Overnight in Bagan.
Transfer to Nyaung Oo Airport for the flight back to Yangon. On arrival end the tour with a visit to Myanmar’s holiest monument, the Shwedagon Pagoda with its golden stupa covered with 60 tons of pure gold leaf. After lunch, free time for shopping at Bogyoke Market (formerly known as Scott’s Market), before transferring to Airport for late afternoon departure flight.