ITINERARY BY DAY
Day 1: Arrive Yangon
This afternoon start your adventure with a tour of the bustling streets of Yangon, lined with old colonial buildings that tell a story of days gone by. Wander through the old harbor district where merchants are going about their daily business of trading and doing deals. In the evening take in the spectacular view of Shwedagon Pagoda all lit up. This is the most important Buddhist site in the country and is said to hold strands of Buddha’s hair and other relics. The spire reaches up to 110m and is encrusted with diamonds and covered by gold plate.
Day 2: Yangon – Inle Lake
Fly to Heho Airport the entrance to Inle Lake. Drive about an hour to reach the lake where you will board a small boat to cross the waterway. Watch the impressive boatmen plying the water with their one-legged rowing style as you pass the many floating gardens filled with vegetables and plants. The lake is also home to many species of birdlife that use the area as a breeding ground or a stop on their migration routes.
Day 3: Inle Lake - Indien
This morning, cruise to Indien Village on a far bank of the lake to see the 16th century stupas that have a mysterious and spooky appeal. Explore the local village where artisans continue to produce their wares using the same techniques handed down through the generations. Watch as Burmese cigars are hand rolled, powder from dried flowers is pressed into Buddhist images, and boats are built from local materials.
Day 4: Inle Lake – Kengtung
Drive back to Heho and fly to Kengtung, a large city in the east of the Shan State. Kengtung is a great place to visit ethnic tribes and minorities to take a peek into their way of life. Take a guided walk around town and journey to Nyaung Tong Lake to meet the Palaung people, where the women’s clothes are accessorized with waist belts made of red cloth and silver.
Day 5: Kengtung
Get set for a day of trekking to explore the surrounding countryside on the way to Pin Tauk. Pass by Anh tribal villages and then on to Akha villages, set high in the mountains and where the women wear striking headdresses adorned with silver, coins and embroidery. The life here is very simple with families supporting themselves through farming and labour. Stop for a picnic lunch by a waterfall and dip your toes in the pools. Then try the local homemade rice wine a medicinal cure-all, perfect for any sore feet!
Day 6: Kengtung – Mandalay
Enjoy a leisurely start to the day or take a walk to the morning market always a hive of activity, before driving to the airport for a flight to Mandalay. This last royal capital lies in the shadow of Mandalay Hill and its focal point is the reconstructed palace which is surrounded by a large moat. Mandalay also serves as a hub for smaller ancient cities which have played an important part in the history and landscape of the region.
Day 7: Mandalay - Amarapura
This morning take a short drive to reach Amarapura, a former capital and centre of learning since 1783. The city was ravaged by fire and an earthquake and rebuilt several times, and today the monastery is still an active teaching facility and home to hundreds of young monks. Then, take a stroll with the locals across the rickety U Bein Bridge, said to be the longest teak wood bridge in the world! Back in Mandalay see the Mahamuni Pagoda with its statues created in Buddha’s true likeness, and then see the largest book in the world at Kuthodaw Pagoda, where stories are etched upon 79 stone tablets. End the day with a visit to an artisanal gold leaf workshop and admire the sunset from high up on Mandalay Hill.
Day 8: Mandalay – Monywa
Travel about four hours by road to reach the town of Monywa. On the way, stop off at Sagaing, a former capital city with a collection of stupas and monasteries that dot the surrounding hills. The main monastery has spectacular views over the Irrawaddy River. Continue on to Monywa and the 14th century Thanboddhay Pagoda, where thousands of Buddhist images adorn the walls inside and out, then head to the unique pagoda of Bodditatuang where hundreds of Buddha’s sit under the shade of Banyan trees. Later in the afternoon, watch artisans weave cotton blankets and make lacquer ware, then watch the sunset from atop of a pagoda.
Day 9: Monywa – Bagan
Hop aboard a boat and cross the Chindwin River to the cave temple of Pow Win Taung. Marvel at the impressive 17th century paintings that decorate the walls and the Buddhist statues that are seated on shelves hewn from the rock. A short distance away is Shwe Ba Taung where more temples have been carved out of the narrow cliffs. Then cruise along the Irrawaddy River to Bagan arriving later in the afternoon.
Day 10: Bagan
Grab your bike and cycle around the hundreds of temples that makes up the landscape of Bagan. More than 10,000 temples and religious structures were built over a 250 year period when Bagan was at the heart of the ancient empire of Pagan. Today, there are just over 2,200 remaining temples and pagodas in surprisingly good condition! Go at your own pace as the roads are quite flat which makes it an easy and enjoyable ride.
Day 11: Bagan - Mt Popa - Yangon
This morning, drive to Mt Popa a temple perched high on top of a dormant volcano. Climb the 777 steps to reach the monastery which is dedicated to the 37 ancient Nats (spirits). There are many folklore tales and myths surrounding Mt Popa, and on a clear day you can see out to the plains of Bagan. Later this afternoon fly to Yangon.
Day 12: Depart Yangon
Today is the end of your Myanmar Adventure! Later you will be transferred to the airport for your onward flight.