Experience the glittering temples and pagodas of Yangon, explore the vast plains of Bagan, dotted with the ruins of thousands of ancient temples and stupas, and visit the mountain top temple at Mount Popa, considered to be the home of Myanmar’s most important spirits (nats). Wind down while relaxing on miles of unspoiled, sandy beach in Ngapali.
Day 1: Yangon
Arrive in Yangon. Located on the wide Yangon River, the city is filled with tree-shaded boulevards and colonial architecture, while shimmering stupas appear to float above the treetops.
The rest of the day is spent exploring the sights of the city. In the centre you can see the 46 metre-high golden octagonal Sule Pagoda which has been the point of all major religious and political events in the history of Myanmar. Wander through the National Museum to see various artefacts including jewellery, opium weights and royal relics including the eight metre high Sihasana Lion Throne. 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. It is particularly beautiful during the sunset hour, as the golden stupa reflects the changing colours of twilight. End the day by shopping for handicrafts and bargains at the Bogyoke Aung San Market, housed in an art deco building.
Overnight in Yangon
Day 2: Yangon – 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
Located about 50km out of Bagan, Mount Popa is an extinct volcano with a mountain top temple considered to be the home of Myanmar’s most important spirits (nats). Walk up a winding covered staircase encircling the mountain, observed by the curious monkeys that populate the area. At the top is a monastery and temple complex, with shrines to the 37 nats, along with spectacular views over the surrounding plain. Visit the unspoiled Burmese town of Salay and visit the Yoke Son Kyaung, the oldest surviving wooden monastery, with beautiful carvings of court life and scenes from the Ramayana. Spend some time wandering around the town to see the market and the Thar Ta Na Yaung Chi monastery.
Overnight in Bagan.
Day 4: Bagan – Thandwe – Ngapali
Fly from Bagan to Thandwe and then transfer to the beach resort of Ngapali and spend the next few days relaxing.
Named by homesick Italian sailors after their beloved Naples, Ngapali is an unforgettably peaceful retreat. Miles of unspoiled sandy beach, brilliant turquoise seas and towering coconut trees make Ngapali a perfect place to unwind. Apart from the normal beach activities, there are small fishing villages and local markets in the nearby area just waiting to be explored either by foot or bicycle and there are various offshore islands accessible by boat. Each morning the fishing boats return laden with shrimp, lobster and squid.
Days 5 & 6: Ngapali
Enjoy all day at leisure
Overnight in Ngapali.
Day 7: Ngapali
Depart/transfer from Ngapali to Thandwe and fly to Yangon.