This 6 day tour explores the main cities and towns of Myanmar including Yangon, Bagan, Mandalay and the beautiful Inle Lake. A great option for first time visitors to Myanmar, the itinerary includes not to be missed sites and activities such as the magnificent Shwedagon Pagoda; the vast plains of Bagan, peppered with thousands of ancient ruined temples; a morning alms offering in Mandalay; and the cultures and villages of the scenic Inle Lake
Day 1: Yangon
Spend the day sightseeing, discovering tree-lined boulevards, colonial architecture, and shimmering stupas. See the 46 metre-high Sule Pagoda which has been the point of all major religious and political events in the history of Myanmar. Wander through the National Museum and see artefacts including jewellery, opium weights and royal relics such as the eight metre high Sihasana Lion Throne, used by the last Burmese king.
At sunset visit the gleaming gold Shwedagon Pagoda, the most sacred place in Myanmar with a history stretching back over 2500 years. Visually, it dominates the Yangon skyline and consists of a series of shrines, pavilions and spires, clustered at the base of a giant stupa, which itself is covered in over 60 tons of gold leaf. Also take in the Bogyoke Aung San Market, housed in an art deco style building, to shop for handicrafts and bargains from over 2000 stalls.
Overnight in Yangon.
Day 2: Bagan
Fly from Yangon to Bagan. Nestled in the curve of the Irrawaddy River, Bagan’s plains are peppered with thousands of ancient stupas and temple ruins as far as the eye can see. Spend the day exploring some of the 2,200 remaining temples including: the 11th century Schwezigon Pagoda, the Gubyaukhyi Temple at Wetkyi-Inn and a temple of the same name at Myinkaba, and the Ananda Pahto, one of the finest, largest, best preserved and most revered of the Bagan temples. Thought to have been built around 1105, this perfectly proportioned temple heralds the stylistic end of the early Bagan period.
Also explore the Manuha Temple, built in 1059 and enshrining the unusual combination of three seated and one reclining Buddha image, and the Shwesandaw Paya, the first monument in Bagan to feature stairways leading up from the square bottom terraces to the round base of the Stupa.
Guests will also visit a lacquerware workshop to learn about this difficult art. Close the day at sunset from a pagoda platform, enjoying panoramic views across the plains. Climb to a pagoda platform at sunset, for panoramic views across the plains.
Overnight in Bagan.
Day 3: Bagan – Mandalay
Fly from Bagan to Mandalay and head to Amarapura, a former royal capital. Visit the Mahagadayon Monastery, where everyday at mid-morning monks and novices line up to receive their daily offerings of alms and food from faithful Buddhists. See the picturesque U Bein Bridge, a teak bridge extending over 1km across Taungthaman Lake.
Travel back to Mandalay and visit the Mahamuni Paya which contains the Mahamuni image, covered in over 15 centimetres of gold leaf. Worshippers flock daily to the shrine at four in the morning to observe the unique face-washing ceremony. Continue to Shwenandaw Kyaung, or the Golden Teak Monastery. Built entirely of golden teak, this intricately carved wooden monastery was once part of the Mandalay Palace and was used as private apartments by King Mindon and his chief queen. Afterwards visit Kyauktawgyi Paya, famous for its huge seated Buddha, carved from a single block of marble. Continue to Kuthodaw Paya, known also as “the world’s biggest book”. Around the central stupa are miniature pavilions, housing tablets of marble numbering 729 altogether, and inscribed with the entire Tripitkata, or Buddhist scriptures. The final stop is at the teak monastery of Shwe In Bin Kyaung with its Burmese carved doors and beautiful paintings.
At sunset, climb the sheltered steps to the top of Mandalay Hill to see the views over the paya-studded countryside.
Overnight in Mandalay.
Day 4: Mandalay – Heho – Inle Lake
Fly from Mandalay to Heho and transfer by road to Inle Lake, nestled among the Shan Mountains. Beautiful and calm, Inle Lake is rimmed by high hills, dotted with idyllic patches of floating vegetation, fishing canoes, floating markets and fish farms. The lake’s shore and islands host numerous villages on stilts, mostly inhabited by the Intha people, famous for their one legged rowing technique. Explore the lake by boat to enjoy the spectacular scenery and also visit: Paung Daw Oo Pagoda, believed to be one of the holiest sites; Inn Paw Khon Village to see the art of silk weaving; and Nga Phe Chaung Monastery, a wooden monastery built on stilts over the lake.
Overnight in Inle Lake.
Day 5: Inle Lake – Heho – Yangon
Travel by road to Heho and catch a flight to Yangon. The afternoon is at leisure to relax or explore more of the sights of the city.
Overnight in Yangon.
Day 6: Yangon