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. Overnight in Yangon.
Leaving Yangon in the morning, enjoy a scenic journey by road to Kyaiktiyo, 190km to the east. One of Myanmar’s great pilgrimage sites is the Golden Rock at Kyaiktiyo, one of Myanmar's landmarks, which is famous for its precarious position and religious importance: KYAIKTIYO the 'Golden Rock', a huge boulder completely covered by gold leaf and delicately balanced on the edge of a cliff. To reach the pagoda from KIN PUN a steep 11 km road leads to the upper staging point by truck. The 'upper area' must be traveled by foot, at present, and the walk is approximately 4 km (1 hour) up a steep path which ascends some 500 m to the GOLDEN ROCK. On arrival you can enjoy the beautiful sunset. Dinner and overnight in hotel.
Breakfast at Hotel. Drive to Bago - 110 km from base camp. Visit Kyat Khet Wine Monastery for adoring the receting of Buddha preches by monks and Bago Market. Sightseeing in Bago includes the beautiful 55m long reclining Buddha called Shwethalyaung and the Mon style Shwemawdaw Pagoda, one of the most venerated in Myanmar. Its spire stands 114m high and is taller even than the Shwedagon Pagoda. Also visit the old Palace of Kambozathadi and the huge four sitting Buddhas. Return by road to Yangon, visiting the Allied War Cemetery near Htaukkyan, the final resting place for over 27,000 allied soldiers, and a local woven bamboo factory. Transfer back to Yangon. Overnight in Yangon.
After breakfast at hotel, morning sightseeing at Myanmar’s holiest monument, the Shwedagon Pagoda with its gold covered stupa and Kyaukhtatgyi Pagoda’s 70m long reclining Buddha. After lunch, back to hotel. Transfer to railway station for Myanmar. Overnight on train.
Upon arrival at Mandalay in the morning, transfer to hotel. Free at leisure. Visit the Kuthodaw Pagoda with its 729 marble stone slabs of Buddhist scriptures (known as the world’s biggest book), Shwenandaw Monastery, noted for its exquisite woodcarving and the impressive Kyauktawgyi Pagoda with its huge sitting Buddha. In the afternoon, transfer to the jetty and board a private chartered boat for an excursion over the Irrawaddy River towards the former capital of Mingun. After a 45 minute cruise, arrive in Mingun famous for its huge unfinished pagoda also home to the Mingun Bell, considered as the world’s largest uncracked ringing bell. Also visit the beautiful white Hsinbyume Pagoda. Return by boat to Mandalay. Enjoy the sunset from Mandalay Hill for panoramic view of city. Overnight in Mandalay.
After breakfast at the hotel depart for full day trip to the former capitals of Amarapua, Ava and Sagaing. The day begins with a visit to the 18th century capital, Amarapura. Attend the daily meal of over a thousand monks at the country’s largest monastery, Mahagandayon. Visit a silk weaving workshop, the craft speciality of Amarapura. 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. 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. Finish the day with a walk at sunset over the 200 year-old U Bein Bridge, constructed entirely from teak. Overnight in Mandalay.
Leave Mandalay for a 3 hour drive to Moniwa, a typical Burmese town on the banks of the Chindwin River. On the way, visit Thanboddhay Pagoda, where more than 500,000 Buddha images cover every wall and archway of this huge Buddhist temple. Also visit Bodihtataung Pagoda and the largest reclining Buddha image in Myanmar, 100m long and 27m high. Cross the Chindwin River by ferry and proceed to Po Win Daung by local open jeep. 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 South-East Asia. Recently opened to foreigners, Po Win Daung with its unique, precious frescoes, some dating from the early 17th century, is a must to see for anyone with an interest in Buddhist Arts. A few hundred metres from the caves is Shwe Ba Daung, another very interesting site where monasteries and temples are carved out of narrow cliffs. Overnight in Monywa.
After breakfast at the hotel, leave Moniwa by passing traditional villages where farmers climb the palm trees to extract the juice from which they produce palm tree sugar. Continue 20km south to Pakokku. A lively, typical Burmese city with a strong craftwork tradition producing colourful woven blankets, paper toys and traditional sandals. Continue by boat across the river to arrive in Bagan at the end of the day with having a beautiful sun-set into the hill. Overnight in Bagan.
After breakfast at the hotel 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, visit Ananda, an architectural masterpiece of the early-style temple with two original standing Buddha images whose facial expressions change depending on the distance the statue is viewed from. The Ananda Okkyaung is one of the few surviving brick monasteries from the early Bagan period and the next temple to be visited, Thatbyinnyu, is the highest 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 the sunset over the site from the upper terrace of Myauk Guni Temple. Overnight in Bagan.
After breakfast at hotel, proceed to Mt. Popa, a one hour drive from Bagan on the road to Mandalay, rises 1520 metres into the sky. Climbing to the summit takes about 45 minutes and you can visit the Mahagiri Shrine dedicated to the "Nats" (spirits) at the top. There is a wonderful panoramic view. This is an easy day's journey from Bagan stopping along the way at local villages and a sugar cane plantation. Lunch on the way. Proceed to Pindaya. Enjoy a scenic drive to Pindaya by passing village & green field. Overnight in Pindaya.
After breakfast at Hotel, hiking to Yarsagyi Hill on foot about 4-5 hours. Lunch on the way. Visit surrounding villages. Observe Palaung, Danu and Pao tribes and their way of living. Particulars in their community work of tea, thanatphat (cheroot making leaves), Garlic, sunflower plantation. Observe the traditions and customs. Dinner and overnight at Yarsagyi Hill with the villagers.
Trekking down to the Pindaya. Halfday sightseeing at Pindaya’s limestone cave with its maze of chambers displaying more than 8,000 Buddha statues and local handicraft workshops producing Shan paper made from mulberry bark and traditional umbrellas made from the same paper that are used by monks all around the country. Overnight in Pindaya.
After breakfast at hotel, Enjoy a scenic drive to Inle Lake, one of Myanmar best-known sights. The Intha people, a tribe of Mon descent, mostly inhabit the lakeshores and floating villages. On arrival at Nyaung Shwe village, transfer by boat to start a sightseeing tour of Inle Lake including a chance to see the leg-rowing fishermen. Continue to see the floating gardens, built up from strips of water hyacinth and mud and anchored to the bottom with bamboo poles. There are also floating villages like Ywama, the lake’s downtown, where a floating market is held every five days. In the afternoon continue to Phaung Daw Oo Pagoda, the weaving village of Inpawkhon and the jumping cat monastery. Check into hotel in the evening. Overnight at Inle Lake.
After breakfast, transfer by motorboat to In Dein, an off-the-beaten-track site in the south of the lake. From Ywama, the boat leaves the lake and enters a narrow canal leading to a small Pa O tribe village. From the market place of the village, follow an old covered path to a 13th century monastery and the very impressive ruins of hundreds of ancient pagodas, some hidden in the vegetation. The main stupa-area on the top of the hill offers breathtaking views over the surrounding mountains and down to the valley and the lake in the far distance. Return to the lake and transfer back to hotel in the afternoon. Overnight at Inle Lake.
Depart Yangon (B)
After breakfast, transfer to airport for Yangon. Upon arrival, finish the tour with a visit to downtown Yangon with its faded colonial atmosphere, Sule Pagoda, Mahabandoola Park, India town and bustling Chinatown. In the afternoon there is free time for shopping at Bogyoke Market, formerly Scott’s Market before transferring to Mingaladon Airport for onward flight.