Great Journey of Myanmar

14 Days / 13 Nights

  Mandalay - Shwebo - Mogok - Mingun - Bagan - Salay - Yangon

14 Days / 13 Nights

Great Journey of Myanmar

  Mandalay - Shwebo - Mogok - Mingun - Bagan - Salay - Yangon

From ancient temples and stunning colonial buildings to giant Buddha statues and precious gemstones, this 14-day journey takes travellers from Myanmar’s must-see sites to places far from the classic tourist trail. Tour the temples of Bagan and discover traces of the first recorded inhabitants in Burma. Visit the highlights of Yangon and explore the ruby mines of Mogok. Complete with spectacular sunset views, friendly locals and bustling markets, this trip will reveal a deeper insight into Burma’s culture and heritage.

JOURNEY HIGHLIGHTS

  • Visit three of Myanmar’s most famous destinations – Yangon, Bagan and Mandalay
  • Get off the beaten track and explore the country’s lesser visited highlights
  • Travel to Mogok and explore the famous ‘Valley of Rubies’
  • Get a peek beneath the surface, meeting local people whilst learning about their customs and traditions
  • Gain a deeper insight into Buddhism in Myanmar and visit some of the most impressive temples and pagodas all over the country

TOUR INCLUSIONS

  • Accommodation at selected hotels with daily breakfast

  • Check-in time is 2.00PM and check-out time is 12.00PM

  • English-speaking guides

  • Tours and transfers as mentioned by air-conditioned vehicle

  • Sightseeing fees and permits during guided time

  • Flights as per program

  • Drinking Water

ITINERARY

DAY 1

Mandalay – City Tour

DAY 1 - Mandalay – City Tour

Upon arrival in Mandalay, meet a local guide and visit some of the city’s most prominent sites. Once the royal capital of Myanmar, in the city centre sits the restored Mandalay Palace, a replica of the original building which was destroyed during WWII.

Start the city tour at Mahamuni Pagoda, one of the country’s major Buddhist temples, and marvel at its sparkling Buddha image which is regularly coated in gold leaves before stopping by a marble stone carving and artisanal gold leaf workshop. Continue to Kuthodaw Pagoda to witness the world’s largest book which comprises 729 shrines, each containing a marble slab inscribed with Buddhist teachings on both sides.

End the day at one of the most iconic places of the city – Mandalay Hill. Dotted with numerous pagodas and temples, climb atop the 240-metre-high hill to enjoy stunning sunset views over the sprawling city.

DAY 2

DAY 2 - Mandalay – Monywa

After breakfast at the hotel, hit the road and travel to Monywa. Nestled along Chindwin River in the Sagaing Region, spend the day exploring some of the town’s highlights; start at Thanboddhay

Pagoda, a richly decorated temple housing more than 580,000 Buddha images, before admiring the Giant Standing Buddha statue – the second tallest in the world – at the Bodhi Tahtaung Monastery. Lastly, visit the Central Market and immerse in the vibrant medley of patterned longyis, traditional snacks and all kinds of other intriguing products. Once checked into the hotel, relax and spend the night in Monywa.

DAY 3

DAY 3 - Monywa – Shwebo

Enjoy breakfast at the hotel before journeying to Shwebo, the city where King Alaungpaya founded the Konbaung Dynasty. After a two-hours’ drive, arrive in the former royal capital and spend the morning exploring the city’s main sites. First, head to Hsinbyume (or Myatheindan) Pagoda. Modelled after the sacred Buddhist mountain, Mount Meru, the all-white pagoda boasts a unique architectural style as well as 100,000 emeralds. Delve deeper into Shwebo’s royal past at Zabu Simee Pagoda and Shwe Tansar Pagoda, one of the oldest in town.

In the afternoon, travel to the pottery village of Kyaukmyaung and see the large glazed earthenware pots the village is famous for. Continue to the ancient city Hanlin (also known as Halin or Halingyi), an essential city during the era of the Pyu city-states, founded by the earliest recorded inhabitants of Burma. Now a UNESCO World Heritage site, dive into the city’s rich historical past at a small museum, displaying a large collection of archaeological finds, some of which are more than 5,000 years old.

After this excursion into ancient history, travel back to Shwebo and settle in at a hotel for the night.

DAY 4

DAY 4 - Shwebo – Mogok

Start the day with breakfast at the hotel and embark on a six-hour journey to Mogok – the Valley of Rubies. Only open to foreigners since 2013, the historic town is famous for its gemstones, including most of the world’s finest rubies.

Along the way, stop at Phawtaw check-point to receive permission to visit Mogok before taking a short tea and snack break at Shwe Nyaung Pin. Upon arrival, head atop Daw Nan Kyi Hill and enjoy the panoramic views of the city before heading to one of the gemstone markets. Get the chance to examine the famous Pigeon’s Blood rubies, Royal Blue sapphires and many other dazzling jewels.

Wrap up the day at a scenic viewpoint and enjoy watching a spectacular sunset over the picturesque valley before checking into the hotel for the night.

DAY 5

DAY 5 - Mogok

Enjoy breakfast at the hotel and take a morning walk through town. Peruse two of Mogok’s bustling gem markets – Aungchanthar and Cinema – and visit one of the open pit mines.

In the afternoon, spend some time relaxing over coffee before heading to the charming Mogok Lake and the pagoda-dotted hills that encircle the city. Visit the beautiful Phaung Daw Oo Temple as well as the cave where Mogok Sayadaw, one of the country’s most venerable monks, practiced his mediation.

End the day at the ancient Chan Thar Gyi Pagoda. Located on a small hill, marvel at the impressive stupa and take in the panoramic views of the city as the sun slowly sets behind the surrounding hills. Alternatively, visit Padamyar Pagoda, which boasts equally stunning vistas from atop Sit Min Gyi Hill.

DAY 6

DAY 6 - Mogok

Start the day with breakfast and a walk around the village to get a glimpse of the daily life of the local people. Next, drive to Bernard Village, a former British base which was set up following the occupation of Mogok. Upon arrival, stroll through the local fresh market and stop by the overgrown British military cemetery before touring several of the nearby mines. Visit the Pyaung Gaung mines, known for its green Peridot stones, stop by the Dattaw ruby mine and the Pein-pyit mines before returning to the hotel.

DAY 7

DAY 7 - Mogok – Mandalay

After breakfast at the hotel, hit the road again and travel back to Mandalay. After checking into the hotel, spend the rest of the day at leisure.

DAY 8

DAY 8 - Mandalay – U Bein Bridge

Enjoy a laid-back morning, independently exploring Myanmar’s second largest city or relaxing at the hotel.

In the late afternoon, be picked up by a local guide and transfer to one of the country’s most iconic landmarks – U Bein Bridge. One of the oldest and longest teakwood bridges in the world, the structure is a favourite photo subject at sunset. Kick back with a refreshing drink and watch as the locals pass along the bridge on their way home, turning into beautiful silhouettes against the deep orange sky. Don’t forget to bring a camera!

DAY 9

DAY 9 - Mandalay – Mingun – Bagan

After breakfast, head out for a morning adventure to Mingun. At a nearby jetty, board a boat and journey along the Irrawaddy River until reaching the small town. Known for its enormous, unfinished stupa, the monument also boasts the largest ringing bell in the world, weighing 90 tonnes. Visit the gigantic landmark and hear the story about why it was never completed, before heading to Mandalay airport in time to catch a flight to Bagan. Be picked up by a driver and transfer to a hotel in town.

DAY 10

DAY 10 - Bagan Temple Tour

With thousands of Buddhist ruins still sprinkled across its plains, the ancient city of Bagan is one of Myanmar’s most magical destinations.

Start the day with a visit to Nyaung U Market. A colourful and lively bazaar, stroll between the cluster of stalls and observe the everyday activities of the local people who come here to buy fresh vegetables, meat, spices and other products.

Continue to Manuha Temple and spend the rest of the day exploring a selection of the most impressive structures whilst learning more about the former kingdom under whose reign more than 10,000 temples, pagodas and monasteries where built in this area. This 11th-century structure was built by the captive Mon King Manuha. Still active, explore the two-storey temple and marvel at the four large golden Buddha images, enshrined within its walls.

Next, head to Ananda Temple, one of the most magnificent and best-preserved structures in Bagan. Constructed around 1105 AD by King Kyanzittha, stroll through the perfectly symmetrical temple and notice the gilded spire at its centre.

From there, visit the impressive Shwezigon Pagoda. This large, bell-shaped pagoda, completely covered in gold, served as a model for most other stupas in the country and is one of the oldest monuments in Bagan.

End the temple tour at an elevated viewing point and take in the awe-inspiring panoramas of the temple-studded plains, bathed in a mystical golden glow by the setting sun.

DAY 11

DAY 11 - Bagan – Salay

Today, step off the tourist trail and explore the small town of Salay. After breakfast, embark on a one-and-a-half-hour journey through the scenic countryside until arriving at the town’s main cultural landmark, Yokesone Monastery. Dating back to 1882, wander through the beautiful teak monastery and admire the numerous intricate wood carvings it’s famous for.

Home to several other monasteries and pagodas, a visit to Salay is a great opportunity to chat to some local monks and learn more about Buddhism in Myanmar. Stroll around its religious centre and see a series of attractive colonial-era buildings before arriving at Man Paya, a modern pagoda with a six-metre-high lacquer Buddha statue in gold.

On the journey back to Bagan, take a lunch break at West Phwar Saw Village to get a glimpse of the traditional rural life in Myanmar. Sit down and chat to a local family to hear about their daily lives and learn about local customs. Together, put on some Thanaka – ground bark which is commonly used as make-up and sun protection – before learning how to wrap a Longyi – a traditional Burmese garment. Both items play an important role in the country’s heritage and are still ubiquitously found today!

DAY 12

DAY 12 - Bagan – Yangon

Enjoy a relaxed morning before travelling to the airport in time to catch a flight to Yangon. Upon arrival, transfer to the hotel to check in.

DAY 13

DAY 13 - Yangon – City Tour

Start the day with a tasty breakfast before heading out to explore Myanmar’s largest city. As the former capital, Yangon is a dynamic city, the country’s commercial hub and home to many cultural and historical highlights.

Drive downtown and stop in front of the City Hall. Listed on the Yangon City Heritage List, marvel at this impressive example of Burmese-style architecture before wandering the streets in search of the city’s many striking colonial-style buildings. Next, stop by Pomelo, a quirky Fair Trade boutique, offering a colourful array of handmade pillows, bags, jewellery and household products. With every purchase contributing to the livelihood of local artisans, it’s the perfect place to pick up a little souvenir to take home.

For more shopping opportunities as well as a unique experience, head to the cobblestoned Scott Market in the afternoon and explore the large bazaar. After, continue to Chaukhtatgyi Temple and witness the gigantic reclining Buddha image before taking a stroll around Kandawgyi Lake.

As dusk sets in, head to the famous Shwedagon Pagoda. Arguably the most important Buddhist site in the country, the spectacular landmark is marvellously illuminated at night. Admire the gleaming golden structure and its diamond encrusted spire before returning to the hotel and settling in for the night.

DAY 14

DAY 14 - Yangon

The time has come to bid farewell to this magical country. Depending on flight time, transfer to the airport to catch an onward flight.

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