Day 1: Mandalay
You will be met on arrival at Mandalay International Airport and transferred to your hotel.
Overnight in Mandalay.
Day 2: Mandalay – Amarapura – Mandalay
After breakfast, we will visit the Jade Market. From there, we proceed directly to Amarapura, where we will visit Mahagandayon, a famous Buddhist monastery, where more than a thousand monks live and study. From there, we continue on to the 200-year-old U Bein teak bridge, built in 1782 at the time when Amarapura was the royal capital.
The afternoon sightseeing tour includes Mahamuni Pagoda with its spectacular Buddha image covered with thick layers of gold leaves, a visit to the Gold Leaf Making Workshop and Tapestry Workshop. We will also visit Shwe Inbin, one of the most outstanding monasteries in the country; Shwe Nan Daw Kyaung or the “Golden Palace Monastery”, a superb example of a traditional wooden building; and Kuthodaw Pagoda, known as the world’s largest book, consisting of 729 marble slabs engraved with Buddhist scriptures. You will enjoy the beautiful sunset on the Mandalay Hill. Overnight in Mandalay.
Day 3: Mandalay – Mingun – Ava – Sagaing – Mandalay
After breakfast, you will enjoy a boat trip on the mighty Irrawaddy River which takes us about 11 km (1 hr) upriver to the former capital of Mingun, where visits include the Mingun Bell, weighing 90 tons and known as the largest uncracked ringing bell in the world; Hsinbyume Paya; and the unfinished Mingun Paya, built as one of the world’s largest chedis by King Bodaw Paya. Next, we take an excursion to the former royal capital of Inwa (Ava), reached by a short boat trip. There we will enjoy visits by horse-drawn carriage to Nanmyint Watchtower; the remains of the palace building nicknamed the “leaning tower of Ava”; the Maha Aungmye Bonzan Monastery built of brick and stucco and Bargayar Monastery, famous for its impressive ornate woodcarvings and teak posts. We continue from there to Sagaing Hills, a retreat for Buddhist devotees, to enjoy the sunset. Overnight in Mandalay.
Day 4: Mandalay – Monywa
After breakfast, we drive to Monywa to visit yhr Thanboddhay Pagoda. Inside the pahto, you will see thousands of Buddha images (reportedly over 500,000 of them) decorating every wall, archway and niche. The buildings in the compound also have very interesting jataka reliefs. From there, we drive to Chindwin River, cross the river by ferry, and proceed by pick-up truck (45 km) to visit a sandstone cave system in the Po Win Hills, named after a famous ‘zawgyi’ (alchemist) who once lived here. The caves of Po Win Daung, numbering more than one hundred, are full of Buddhist statues and murals. Most exhibit the Innwa style but some may date back to the 14th century. Nearby, we stop for a visit at Shwe Ba Daung, which features unique pavilions cut from the surrounding sandstone and filled with Buddha images. Overnight in Monywa.
Day 5: Monywa – Bagan (via local ferry boat)
After breakfast, we transfer to Pakkoku jetty for your departure to Bagan by local ferry boat. On arrival, you will transfer to your hotel in Bagan. Overnight in Bagan.
Day 6: Bagan
After breakfast, we begin the day’s sightseeing, starting with the busy local (Nyaung U) market and continue on with visits to a diverse selection of the most important pagodas and temples such as the Shwezigon Pagoda, built by King Anawrahta in the early 11th century; Ku Byauk Gyi, a temple with exquisite murals of Jataka scenes; Khay Min Ga Temple, noted for its spectacular panoramic view of the area’s many monuments; and Ananda Temple with its four huge standing Buddha images and numerous seated figures in niches around the galleried interior.
In the afternoon we will visit a lacquer craftsmen’s workshop in nearby Myinkaba village, and then sightseeing at the Manuha Temple, built in the Mon style in 1059. We move on to Nanbaya Temple, a unique sandstone monument, said to have been the palace of King Manuha; and Myingaba Gu Byaukgyi Temple, noted for its ancient mural paintings. We will observe the beautiful sunset in the vicinity of Bagan’s ancient monuments. We will observe the sunset from the Shwesandaw Pagoda. Overnight in Bagan.
Day 7: Bagan – Mount Popa – Bagan
Optional morning program: A&F Tour Travel is offering a unique opportunity to see the ancient city of Bagan as it has never been seen before. With ‘Balloons over Bagan’ you will get a magnificent birds-eye view of thousand year-old pagodas, temples and the mighty Ayeyarwaddy River. The champagne flights at sunrise last just under an hour, and take off daily during the months of October through March. The balloon is guided by gentle winds not exceeding 24 km/hr. Six to eight passengers plus a pilot fit into the balloon’s basket. (This is not included in the tour cost.) Due to the limited capacity, advance bookings at an early stage are highly recommended.
Today we proceed on a scenic overland journey to Mount Popa, an extinct volcano with its shrine dedicated to animist spirits, known as “Nats”. For the energetic, there is time to climb the 777 steps to the shrine at the top of the volcanic plug. Return to Bagan. Overnight in Bagan.
Optional bike tour in Bagan
One bike per person at a cost of USD 15 per bike per day.
Day 8: Bagan – Nathtaung Kyaung – Bagan
After breakfast, we visit the site of the Tayokepyay Temple in Min Nan Thu Village, and then move on to Phaya Thone Zu and Nandamanya Temples, noted for their exquisite 13th century murals; then the Kyat Kan Cave Monastery, a famous mediation center in Bagan. We will make some stops to visit some of the farming villages around Bagan. Sightseeing continues with an excursion by boat on the Ayeyarwaddy River to the nostalgic Nat Htaung Kyaung, a wooden monastery built in 1781 by a group of monks, famous for its woodcarvings and a collection of ancient Buddha statues and lacquer boxes. Overnight in Bagan.
Day 9: Bagan (by air) – Heho – Kakku – Inle Lake
After breakfast, we transfer to Bagan Airport for your domestic flight to Heho. From Heho we drive to Kakku. Kakku is a hidden treasure 46 km south of Taunggyi with a magnificent collection of centuries old Buddhist stupas. More than 2,000 stupas have been built here in a small area of just one square kilometer surrounded by mountains and trees. Until very recently this area, which is inhabited by the colourful Pa-o tribes with their distinctive habits, was closed to visitors. At the end of the day we will transfer to the hotel by road and boat. Overnight on the Lake.
Day 10: Inle Lake
After breakfast, an excursion by boat on Inle Lake will include sights of the famous leg-rowers, typical floating gardens, local methods of fishing and village life. Afternoon visits will be made to Phaungdaw oo Pagoda, the weaving village of Inpawkhon and other sights.
Overnight on the lake.
Day 11: Sagar
Today, an excursion by boat to Sagar passes by the clean and prosperous Pa O villages scattered here and there on the banks of the river, the local fishermen’s boats moored on the banks. Overnight on Inle Lake.
Day 12: Inle Lake – Indein – Inle Lake
In the morning, we will visit In Dein in the south of the lake by motor boat. From the middle of the lake, we continue down a small canal leading to the village of In Dein a recently opened area of Shan state. After a walk around the village, passing a local school, we take the covered stairway to the beautiful Alaung Sitthou area where ancient stupas are partly covered by greenery and vegetation. During our afternoon excursion by boat on the picturesque Inle Lake, we will see more of the famous leg-rowers, the typical floating gardens and local methods of fishing and village life. Overnight on the lake.
Day 13: Inle Lake – Thandwe (by air)
After breakfast, we transfer to Heho Airport for your domestic flight to Ngapali Beach. On arrival, you will enjoy rest and leisure time at Ngapali beach. Overnight in Ngapali Beach.
Day 14 – 15: Ngapali Beach
After breakfast, you will enjoy rest and leisure time at Ngapali beach.
Overnight in Ngapali Beach.
Day 16: Ngapali Beach – Thandwe – Yangon
After breakfast, we transfer to Thandwe Airport for your domestic flight to Yangon. Upon arrival in Yangon, you will transfer to your hotel. Overnight in Yangon.
Day 17: Yangon
After breakfast, today’s sightseeing tour includes the gilded Sule Pagoda, dating back over 2,000 years, the Bogyoke (Scott’s) Market (closed only on Mondays and public holidays) with its hundreds of stores, and a visit to a gems shop. The tour continues on to Chauk Htat Gyi, a huge reclining Buddha image, and is followed by a photo stop made at Karaweik Hall, a royal floating barge. From there we stop for an extended visit to the great Shwedagon Pagoda, one of the world’s most spectacular religious monuments, which will conclude the tour of this picturesque Garden City. The golden dome of the Shwedagon Pagoda rises 98 meters above its base and is covered with 60 tons of pure gold. Overnight in Yangon.
Day 18: Yangon Departure
After breakfast, we transfer to Yangon International Airport for your departure and onward flights.