Myanmar is the mystical land of ancient pagodas and temples. Shwedagon Pagoda is 2,600 years old. Bagan civilization is much older than the recorded history dating back to the 11th Century. Not much is known about how the Golden Rock came into existence. A mixture of superstition, spirit and hero worship has co-existed with Buddhism throughout Myanmar. You are invited to board on the voyage of mystical experience. Let us take you to the Kingdoms of Myanmar Past-- the abode of the heroes and spiritual beings where imagination and reality are intricately intertwined.
Welcome on board the Mystical Myanmar Voyage! The ground conditions today look just fantastic with all those temples and pagodas. Just sit back and enjoy your trip. And thank you for traveling with Asia Pearl Travels.
Day 01: Arrival and Yangon Sightseeing
We will meet you at Yangon International Airport and take you to your hotel. Yangon landscape is gradually changing, with taller buildings in the city skyline, and newer automobiles on the road.
This city with population of 5 million has started out as a small village called Dagon. In 1755, Myanmar King Alaungpaya from Upper Burma had captured it from the Mon people, and subsequently renamed it "Yangon", meaning "End of Strife".
After the annexation of the lower Burma in 1852, the British colonial masters turned this small town into a major port, and construction of grid-pattern modern city infrastructures and majestic buildings begun in 1870. The well-known and magnificent structures still stand in the center of the city, and the new Myanmar government recently has started to restore and renovate those historical sites.
Overnight at Summit Park View Hotel.
Day 02 : Yangon Sightseeing
Breakfast at the hotel. We will first visit 75 meter long Chaukhtatgyi colossal reclining Buddha Image. Our next stop will be Kandawgyi Lake. This lake, also known as the Royal Lake, is a natural body of water located in the city center. This is a perfect place for strolling and picnicking. The lake offers a peaceful and surreal atmosphere at sunset when the glittering Shwedagon pagoda is reflected in its calm waters.
Move on to Botataung Pagoda featuring the enshrinement of what Burmese people believe is a hair relic of the Buddha. If time permits, we will take you for a walk around Sule Pagoda and surrounding historical colonial buildings that are now more than 100 years old.
After lunch, visit National Museum to observe the display of lion throne of King Mindon, and a number of other historical and cultural display. Visit Bogyoke Aung Sun Market, a historic shopping center previously known as the Scott's Market to shop or just browse around the display of Myanmar superlative handicrafts.
Proceed to Shwedagon Pagoda. which in early March 2012 had celebrated two thousand six hundred years anniversary of foundation. It's quite a breath-taking experience to watch this golden dome covered with 60 tons of pure gold soaring 98 meters high against the backdrop of clear Myanmar blue sky. Shwedagon is decorated with jade, ruby, sapphire and diamond, including a 76 carat solid diamond on its top.
Enjoy a fantastic sunset view from the hilltop. Overnight at Summit Park View Hotel. (B)
Day 03 : Yangon - Kyaikhtiyo
After breakfast at the hotel, we will be on a 5-hour road trip to Kyaikhtiyo pagoda 190 km (120 miles) away from Yangon. Upon arrival at Kim pun base camp, hop on an open truck for an another 45 minutes drive along steep, but well-paved road leading to the upper staging point of Ya-thaid-taung camp 11 km away. ( Spelling variant: Yatetaung. )
Walk your way up to the renowned Kyaikhtiyo Pagoda located 1,180 meters above the sea level. The road itself is 4 km long, and it will take about 45 minutes to get there. As an easier alternative to walking, four porters at an extra cost can carry you on a sedan chair.
The Kyaikhtiyo Pagoda is 7.3 meters high, and built on a gold-gilded boulder 25 meters in circumference. This curious rock appears to be about to roll off from the cliff, but it is well-balanced, albeit somewhat in a precarious position, and protrudes out from a ridge in the Eastern Yoma Mountains. How on earth this big piece of rock got to this amazing position in the first place is a mystery best leave to imagination.
Overnight at Mountain Top hotel.(B)
Day 04 : Kyaikhtiyo - Bago - Yangon
After breakfast at the hotel, return to the base camp. We will drive back to Bago, the ancient capital of Mon known as Hansavati.
Visit Kyaikpun Paya with four Buddha images sitting back-to-back, and huge reclining Shwethalyaung Buddha Image measuring 55 meter long and 16 meter high. (Note: the largest reclining Buddha image in Myanmar is located 20 km to the Southe of Mawlamyine.)
Visit busy Bago Market and 144 meter tall Shwemawdaw Pagoda, the tallest Pagoda in Myanmar. We will just walk to nearby Hinthagone Pagoda, where Bago was founded.
We will end the Bago tour with a visit to the excavated site of Hanthawadi. Myanmar King Bayinnaung (1553-1599) had built a Palace called "Kambawzathadi" at the center of this square-walled city measuring 1.8 km on each side.
Return to Yangon. Overnight at Park Royal hotel. (B)
Day 05 : Yangon - Mandalay - Mingun
After breakfast at the hotel, head to the airport for your Mandalay-bound flight.
Our driver will pick you up at Mandalay airport, and proceed to Kyawzun jetty. Here's a photo opportunity you will not find in developed countries: water buffaloes used as a mean to transport Myanmar teak wood, the best quality in the World. We will stop a while to watch busy riverside activities before boarding on a private boat and head towards Mingun on the other shore of Ayeyarwady river.
Visit the old-age home for the poor in Mingun. There are not that many such places in Myanmar. Observe Mingun Bell, ranked among the World's largest ringing bells, and weighs almost 90 tons.
Other tour highlights are Settawya Pagoda with a marble foot print of the Buddha; Pahtodawgyi, unfinished temple of King Bodawpaya, which would have been even larger than those in Bagan, plus the Mingun Bell to be located there in the original plan.
We will also stop by Mingun Village and Shinbume Pagoda (Spelling variant: Hsinbyume Pagoda.)
Return to Mandalay and head towards the foot of the Mandalay hill to observe "the World's largest book" at Kuthodaw Pagoda where an entire Buddhist canon is recorded on 729 stone tablets. Visit Shwekyaungdaw "Golden Palace Monastery" to observe the finest Myanmar wooden architecture.
Reward yourself with a fantastic sunset view from the hill after a challenging walk up Mandalay Hill. Overnight at Mandalay City hotel. (B)
Day 06: Amarapura - Ava - Sagaing
After Breakfast at the hotel, we will start our day with a visit to Payagyi to observe Mahamuni Buddha Image. We will then continue to ancient capital of Amarapura, which means "the city of immortality". This is where Mahagandayon Monastery, the largest in the country, is located.
Observe the lunch processing of hundreds of Buddhist monks (which happens to be a tourist attraction), and proceed to the forgotten ancient capital of Ava, the 14th century capital located across Myit Nge river. Observe unique monasteries and monuments, including 88 foot high watchtower and Bargaya teak monastery, built on 267 teak pillars. We will end our Ava sightseeing with a visit to the remains of the Royal Palace and the fort.
Proceed to Sagaing, covered with 600 white-painted pagodas and monasteries.
Sagaing is widely regarded as the religious center of Myanmar, and is home to 3,000 monks and 100 meditation centers. Observe a fantastic sunset from scenic 200 years old U Bein bridge-- the longest teak bridge in the World.
Return to Mandalay. Overnight at Mandalay City hotel. (B)
Day 07: Mandalay - Pyin Oo Lwin - Mandalay
After breakfast at the hotel, we will be on a road trip to Pyin Oo Lwin, formerly known as Maymyo. This will be an enjoyable 1 1/2 hour ride under a pleasantly cool weather conditions. We will be on the road which twists and turns and winds through the beautiful country side.
Maymyo is home to many ethnic tribes as well as a considerable numbers of Nepalese and Hindus who migrated during the British occupation. This town with a mild climate all year round was a favorite summer place for the British officers, and it was a hill station during colonial days.
Let's first visit enchanting Maymyo market selling multi-colored flowers and vegetables. Next, we will stop by botanical garden (432 acres in size) laid out by Sir Harcourt Butler, the former Governor of Burma, to conserve the diverse botanical species around the World.
We will then take you to Pwekauk waterfall, also known as "Hampshire Falls" along the Mandalay/Lashio road. On the way, we will pass through local Shan villages of Yechan O and Ye Nge. The Pwekauk waterfall is a pleasant picnic spot crowded with local people during the weekends.
Proceed further to Peikchin Myaung cave, which was originally the sacred site of devotee of Lord Shiva, but later developed and maintained with many Buddha Images and replica of sacred monuments such as Shwedagon and Kyaikhtyo along its 600 meter walking path.
Also explore local herbal medicine stalls along the site. Return to Mandalay in the late afternoon. Overnight at Mandalay City hotel.
Day 08: Mandalay - Bagan sightseeing
After breakfast at the hotel, head for the airport to catch your Bagan-bound flight. Upon arrival at Nyaung U airport, our driver will take you to the hotel in Bagan.
Our first visit in Bagan will be to Shwezigon, the prototype of the later Myanmar stupas.
There are endless choices of temples and pagodas to visit, but we will pick a few you should not miss. We will take you to Ananda, the best preserved master-piece of Myanmar architecture, and nearby Ananda Oakkyaung, one of a few surviving brick monasteries in Bagan. And, of course, we should not skip Thatbyinnyu, the tallest monument in Bagan, and Gawdawpalin, one of the largest and the most imposing monuments in Bagan.
Visit one of the traditional Lacquerware workshops to observe the process of making those Myanmar handicrafts sold in places like Scott's market in Yangon.
Enjoy a breath-taking sunset view from one of the ruins. You may have a chance to explore part of the ruins on a horse-drawn cart.
Overnight in Bagan. (B)
Day 09: Bagan - Heho - Pindaya - Inle
After breakfast at the hotel, transfer to the airport for your Heho-bound flight. We will pick you up at Heho airport for approximately 3 1/2 hour drive to Pindaya, a charming village with cottage-industry making paper umbrellas. Visit Pindaya Caves, famous for its countless Buddha images placed by the pilgrims over many centuries.
After excursion, drive to Inle and transfer to your hotel. Overnight at Khaung Daing Resort. (B)
Day 10: Inle sightseeing
After breakfast, board on a traditional long motorized boat for a sightseeing tour of the lake. Sit back, relax, and watch unique leg-rowing fishermen of Inle Lakes, floating farms [built up from strips of water hyacinth and mud anchored to the bottom with bamboo poles], and houses and monasteries on the stilts.
Next, we will take you to Indein about 45 minutes away to see the ruins of pagodas, and stupas built in the 8th century. Enjoy rows of shops along the corridor up the hill.
Return to Inle in the afternoon and head for Phaungdaw Oo pagoda housing five sacred and almost shapeless Buddha images, and cottage industries. In the afternoon, visit floating village of Ywama and its water front floating market where buying and selling take place on boats.
We will also take you to the weaving village of Inpawkhon, and Ngaphechaung, a museum-like monastery where old belongings of many monasteries are restored. (On the Internet, it is known by the name of "Jumping Cats Monastery".) Overnight at Khaung Daing Resort. (B)
Day 11: Inle - Heho - Yangon - Bangkok
Breakfast at the hotel and transfer to the airport for your Yangon bound flight. (B)
There will be hotel discounts if you visit between April and end of September, however due to heavy rains and potential landslides during the rainy season, a trip to Kyaikhtiyo will not be available during most of those months. Contact us for low season rates without Kyaikhtiyo trip.Economy Hotels
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