Arrive in Yangon and transfer to your hotel for check in.
Begin the city tour with the 2000-year old Sule Pagoda and Chauk Htat Gyi Pagoda with an impressive 216 ft-long reclining Buddha statue. Continue to Bogyoke Market, formerly known as Scott’s Market, where there is time to browse through the dozens of stalls and shops. This is Yangon’s best market for handicrafts and other goods. (Note: Market is closed on Mondays and public holidays). Return to hotel. Late this afternoon, visit the spectacular golden Shwedagon Pagoda, one of the most sacred Buddhist pagodas in Myanmar. Enjoy the sunset view over Yangon city and across river from the platform. The rest of evening is free at leisure.
Note: Scott’s Market closed on Monday & Gazette Holiday
Day 3/ Yangon – Mandalay – Amarapura (B,L)
Early morning, transfer to the airport for flight to Mandalay. Arrive in Mandalay and visit the Mahagandayone Monastery, home to several thousand young monks. Lunch will be served at local restaurant. After lunch transfer to hotel check in.
Afternoon we visit Mandalay Hill, known for its abundance of pagodas and monasteries. It has been a major pilgrimage site for Burmese Buddhists for nearly two centuries. Continue on to visit the 200 year old U Bein Bridge built in 1728 at the time when Amarapura was Royal capital. The bridge was constructed of 984 teak posts that were once part of the deserted Inwa Palace and it is 1.2 kilometers in length making it the world’s longest teak span. Enjoy a stroll along the bridge and the fabulous views of the surrounding farms and streams. Overnight in Mandalay.
Day 4/ Mandalay – Mingun (B,L)
After breakfast we transfer to a jetty and take an excursion by local boat to Mingun (Approx. 1hr). Visit the world largest uncracked bell in Mingun weighing 90 tons. Then continue to Hsinbyume, an unfinished Pagoda is one of the world's largest cherished by King Bodaw Paya. After lunch, we sail back to Mandalay and visit the famous Mahamuni Pagoda then stop to see stone carvinga and gold leaf being created. In the afternoon, visit Kuthodaw Pagoda, the world’s largest book made of marble then the Shwe Kyaung Monastery, an excellent example of a traditional wooden building. Overnight in Mandalay.
Day 5/ Mandalay – Sagaing – Ava – Bagan (B,L )
Early morning drive to cross a bridge over the Ayeyrawaddy River to Sagaing. Covered with 600 white-painted pagodas and monasteries, Sagaing Hill is widely regarded as the religious center of Myanmar. It is home to 3,000 monks and 100 meditation centers and you will visit pagodas such as Swan Oo Pon Nya Shin and U Min Thone Sae. You’ll also visit Sagaing’s local market, a typical Burmese market that few tourists visit. Here you will find a range of items for sale including locally made pottery, silver and other handicrafts. You will also stop at a small pottery village to see the process of the ubiquitous water pots found throughout Myanmar. Then continue south of the city to Ava, the capital from 14th to 18th centuries, just a short ferry ride will take you across the river to the horse and carriage that is waiting for you. Visit the old wooden Bagaya Monastery and the remains of the Royal Palace and Fort. There are many small villages located amid Ava’s ruins and as you travel by horse and cart you’ll get a glimpse of local life in the Burmese countryside. We’ll stop for lunch in Ava before returning to our car. On you return to the city, stop at a silk-weaving workshop which produces exquisite handmade products. Then transfer to Mandalay airport for late afternoon flight to Bagan. Arrive Nyaung Oo airport, transfer to hotel check in.
Today, tour starts at Nyaung U colorful Market, then Shwezigon Pagoda built by King Anawrahta in the early 11th century as a religious shrine. Continue to Ananda Temple, a whitewashed masterpiece of Mon architecture with four standing Buddhas, and the adjacent brick monastery with the beautiful well-preserved 18th century murals. Continue to visit the Thatbinnyu Temple known as “temples of omniscience” dating from 1144. Visit the Handicraft and Lacquerware Craft Center and Workshop. In the afternoon, visit the Damayangyi Temple (the massive temple in Bagan). Experience a local horse–cart ride (15 mins) to enjoy the sunset. Transfer back to hotel, evening is free at leisure.
Today we set out to discover Bagan, “city of four million pagodas” and one of the richest archaeological sites in all of Asia. With some 2,000 pagodas, temples, and monasteries (still standing) spread over a 16-square-mile site on the Eastern shores of the Irrawaddy, Bagan distills the very essence of Myanmar’s Buddhist culture.
Early morning, enjoy the spectacular panoramic sunrise view from Shwesandaw Pagoda, the second highest pagoda in Bagan. After breakfast, we visit Manuha Temple, built in Mon Style in 1095, the 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 under the protection of UNESCO. Also visit Lawka Nandar Stupa, Sulamani Pagoda meaning "Crowning Jewel" built in 1181 by King Narapati Sithu. This afternoon we encounter Bagan’s rich artistic heritage as we see artisans craft lacquerware. Then enjoy sunset along the Ayeyarwaddy River. Return to hotel late afternoon. Overnight in Bagan.
Day 8/ Bagan – Mt.Popa – Bagan (B,L)
In the morning start your tour with a horse-cart ride for a final glimpse of the temples. Continue heading through the dry flatlands toward Mt. Popa. Along the way, we stop at a small a village where the locals make a variety of treats from the juice of the palm tree. Have lunch at a mountain resort surrounded by forests and with a swimming pool. This is a great place to relax and enjoy the natural beauty of Myanmar. After lunch climb up 777 steps to the top of the monastery at Mount Popa. The monastery is built on the top of a volcanic plug, caused by the nearby volcano, Mount Popa. It rises 737 meters above sea level and stands out awkwardly on the landscape, like a lone skyscraper in a city of shacks. From below, the golden summit shimmers in the Myanmar sun. Along the staircase to the top, various temples and shrines provide a chance for rest and spiritual reflection on why you’re tackling such a climb. This monastery is a popular pilgrimage site for Myanmar people. The drive back to Bagan takes a little over an hour. Overnight in Bagan.
Day 9/ Bagan – Heho – Inle Lake (B)
Breakfast at hotel. Transfer to Nyaung Oo airport for departure to Heho by morning scheduled flight. Arrive Heho airport and drive to Nyaung Shwe jetty passing through Shan Plateau and the green fields which are ringed by the cool green hills of the highlands of Shan State. At 1300 meters above sea level, Inle Lake is seemingly a world apart from the rest of Myanmar. Explore the lake by boat to see “one-legged rowing” fishermen, floating markets, and villages and temples that sit on floating islands. Visit the “Ancient monastery - Ngaphachaung”, the cottage industries, and the colorful hill tribes in the mountains known for their special handwoven silk fabrics. Transfer to hotel check in by boat. Overnight in Inle Lake.
Day 10/ Inle Lake – Inthar Village (B,L)
Breakfast at hotel. Today begins with a visit the morning market which rotates locations on a 5-day basis. (Note: there are no markets on full moon or dark moon days). This daily market attracts people from all over the lake’s shores who gather to buy and sell their wares. If you are lucky, you may see the Pa-Oh, Inthar and Shan people in their traditional outfits. Wander amid the stalls where your guide will explain the local produce and goods for sale.
Stop at Inthar Heritage House to learn more about the history and culture of the lake’s indigenous people. Enjoy lunch at one of the local restaurants in the area. Proceed to the village of Inpawkhone to observe the traditional silk-weaving techniques of Inthar people. Inpawkhone is also known for its weaving from the stems of lotus flowers, a time-consuming process that results in high-quality materials, famous throughout the country. You also visit a cheroot factory where local Burmese cigars are rolled by hand. Then visit silversmiths and blacksmiths still using ancient techniques to create their wares. Transfer back to Hotel.
Day 11/ Inle Lake – Indein – Heho – Yangon (B)
Breakfast at hotel. Travel to Indein, on the southwestern shores of the lake. The boat will travel down a small canal leading to the Pa-oh village of Indein. Explore the area on foot, strolling around the village stopping to chat with the locals and observe their traditional lifestyles. Then wander through the beautiful Alaung Sitthou area, filled with picturesque stupas and magnificent views of the lake. Transfer to Heho airport for departure to Yangon by evening flight. Arrive Yangon airport and transfer to hotel.
Day 12/ Yangon Departure (B)
Breakfast at hotel. Transfer to International airport for departure. Have a wonderful journey!