Day 1 Yangon
Arrival in Yangon you will be met and transferred to your hotel. Overnight in Yangon
Day 2 Yangon
Sightseeing in Yangon including a visit to Botataung Pagoda, this paya was named after the 1000 military leaders who escorted relics of the Buddha brought from India over 2000 years ago. This ancient monument was completely destroyed during WWII. It was then rebuilt in a very similar style to its predecessor, but the zedi is hollow and one can walk through it. The reclining Buddha at Chaukhtatgyi Pagoda in Yangon which is almost as large as the enormous figure of Shwethalyaung Buddha in Bago. It's housed in a large metal-roofed shed on Shwegondaing Lan, only short distance north-east beyond the Shwedagon Paya. Surprisingly, this huge figure is little known and hardly publicised at all- if you can't go to Bago to see the Shwethalyaung, then don't miss this colossal image. Visit National Museum, a museum with several interesting exhibits, especially the 8 meter high Sihasana Lion Throne, used by King Thibaw Min, the last Burmese king, and returned to Burma in 1908 by Lord Mountbatten. The main floor contains jewellery, old black and white photos of Mandalay Palace and Yangon, royal relics, Hintha opium weights and inscribed tablets. Visit Bogyoke Aung San Market, also known as Scott Market, this building contains over 2000 stalls and is the best place in Yangon to browse through the complete range of local handicrafts. Visit Sule Pagoda, this 48 meter high golden dome was used by the British as the nucleus of their grid pattern for the city when it was rebuilt in the 1880s. The pagoda's peculiarity is its octagonal-shaped stupa, which retains its shape as it tapers to the spire. Visit Shwedagon Pagoda at sunset. The highlight of any visit to Yangon, this pagoda towers over the city and is the most sacred spot in the country, built to house eight hair relics of the Buddha. The Shwedagon and surrounding shrines are particularly beautiful during the sunset hour, as the golden stupa reflects the changing colors of twilight. Overnight in Yangon.
Day 3 Yangon - Kyaikhto
From Yangon, head west towards Bago, a historic city originally founded in 573 AD by Thamala and Wimala, two Mon brothers of noble birth as an outpost of the Mon Thaton Kingdom. The site, which was then on the Gulf of Martaban, had already been earmarked as the location of a great city by Gautama, the historic Buddha. Visit Htauk Kyan Allied War Cemetery on the outskirts of Yangon. Explore the main market and a typical Local Monastery in Bago to observe the daily lives of the monks, and then continue the highly venerated Shwemawdaw Paya, which has housed hair relics of the Buddha for over 1000 years. Continue to Shwethalyaung Buddha, huge reclining Buddha with a sign on the platform in front of the image giving the measurements of each body part. It is reputed to be one of the most lifelike of all reclining Buddhas. The Burmese say the image represents Buddha in a relaxing mode. Overnight in Kyaikhto.
Day 4 Kyaikhto - Yangon
Visit Kyaikhtiyo (the Golden Rock). One of the most sacred pilgrimage sites in Myanmar, the shrine at the top of Mt. Kyaikto seems to defy gravity. Perched on the edge of a sheer cliff is a giant golden boulder topped with a gleaming stupa. Particularly stunning at sunset and sunrise, when a magical atmosphere suffuses the shrine. Transfer by road from Kyaikhto to Yangon with sightseeing in Bago (continue from the first day).Visit the Hintha Gon Paya. This shrine has good views over Bago from the roofed platform on the hilltop. According to legend, this was the one point rising from the sea when the mythical bird (the hintha) landed here. Continue to Kyaik Puk Paya, built in 1476 by King Dhammazedi, it consists of four 30m-high sitting Buddhas placed back-to-back around a huge, square pillar and Mahazedi Paya, originally constructed in 1560 AD by King Bayinnaung, it was destroyed during the 1757 sacking of Bago and the reconstruction was only completed in 1982. Stairways lead up the outside of the stupa, and from the top there are fine views over the surrounding area. Overnight in Yangon.
Day 5 Yangon - Bagan
Transfer to the airport for your flight to Bagan. Upon arrival into Bagan you will be met and transferred to your hotel. Bagan is a spectacular plain stretching away from the Ayeyarwaddy River, dotted with thousands of 800-year old temple ruins. Although human habitation at Bagan dates back almost to the beginning of the Christian era, Bagan only entered its golden period with the conquest of Thaton in 1057 AD. Visit Shwezigon Paya. King Anawrahta started the construction of the Schwezigon Pagoda to enshrine some relicts of Buddha. The construction was finished by his successor, King Kyansittha between 1086 and1090. Originally the Shwezigon Pagoda marked the northern end of the city of Bagan. The stupa's graceful bell shape became a prototype for virtually all later stupas over Myanmar. Visit Gubyaukhyi Temple at Wetkyi-Inn. This Temple was built in the early 13th Century and repaired in 1468. The great colorful painting about the previous life of Buddha and the distinguished architecture make this temple an interesting site for a visit. This temple is not to be confounded with the Gubyaukgyi Temple in Myinkabe. Ananda Pahto, one of the finest, largest, best preserved and most revered of the Bagan temples. Thought to have been built around 1105 by King Kyanzittha, this perfectly proportioned temple heralds the stylistic end of the Early Bagan period and the beginning of the Middle period. Gubyaukgyi Temple at Myinkaba: Built in 1113 by Kyanzittha son Rajakumar, this temple is famous for its well-preserved Stuccos from the 12th century on the outside walls. The magnificent paintings date from the original construction of the temple and are considered to be the oldest original paintings in Bagan. The Manuha Temple was built in 1059 by King Manuha, the King of Thaton, who was brought captive to Bagan by King Anawrahta. It enshrines the unusual combination of 3 seated and one reclining image Buddha. It is said that this temple was built by Manuha to express his displeasure about his captivity in Bagan. Visit Shwesandaw Paya. In 1057 King Anawrahta built this Pagoda following his conquest of Thaton. This is the first monument in Bagan, which features stairways leading up from the square bottom terraces to the round base of the Stupa. This Pagoda is ideal to watch Bagan's magnificent sunsets. The villages around Bagan are known for producing the finest lacquerware in Myanmar. Stop by one of the workshops and learn about the painstaking process of laquerware making and decoration. Enjoy a panoramic view of the sun setting over the plain of Bagan from one of the pagoda platforms. Overnight in Bagan.
Day 6 Bagan
Excursion to Mount Popa. A curiously cylindrical hill rising sharply from the surrounding plain, Mount Popa is considered to be the home of Myanmars most important nats (spirits). Visitors ascend up a winding covered staircase encircling the mountain, observed by the curious monkeys that populate the area. At the top is a monastery and temple complex, with shrines to the 37 nats and a spectacular view over the region. Overnight in Bagan.
Day 7 Bagan - Mandalay
Transfer to the airport for your flight to Mandalay. Upon arrival into Mandalay you will be met and transferred to your hotel. Excursion to Amarapura, Sagaing, and Inwa (Ava). This day tour visits three former royal capitals, each with its own unique atmosphere. In the morning, drive to Amarapura, and visit Mahagandayon Monasatery, every day at mid-morning, monks and novices line up to receive their daily offering of alms and food from faithful Buddhists. Next, head to Sagaing, the spiritual center of Myanmar. Hundreds of stupas, monasteries, temples and nunneries are to be found in Sagaing Hill, sometimes known as a living Bagan. Thousands of monks and nuns retreat here for meditation and contemplation. Stop at some of the most famous temples, such as Sun U Ponya Shin Paya, U Min Thonsei Paya and Kaung Hmu Daw Paya. Cross the river by ferry to Inwa, situated on the banks of the Irrawaddy River. Once a royal capital, Inwa is now a quiet rural oasis. Enjoy a leisurely horseart ride around the peaceful countryside, briefly visiting Bagaya Kyaung, a beautiful teak wood monastery, Maha Aungmyay Bonzan Kyaung, and Nan Myint Tower. On the way, stop and observe how local artisans make the famous alms bowls out of iron. Finally, return to Amarapura, to end the day at U Bein’s Bridge, a picturesque teak bridge which extends over one kilometer across Taungthaman Lake. At dusk, the bridge teems with monks and local people as they stroll home or linger to enjoy the colors of the sunset. Overnight in Mandalay.
Day 8 Mandalay
The last capital of royal Burma, Mandalay is still one of the largest cities in Myanmar, and a cultural and spiritual center. Neighboring Sagaing is home to over sixty percent of the country's monks, while the artisans of Mandalay continue to turn out the finest crafts in Myanmar. In the morning, head to Mahamuni Paya. The Mahamuni image enshrined here is perhaps the most venerated image in Myanmar, covered in over 15 cm of gold leaf. Worshippers flock daily to the shrine at four in the morning to observe the unique face-washing ceremony. Enroute to the pagoda, stop to observe the laborious process of Gold-leaf beating, where gold is painstakingly hammered into tissue-thin squares. Before breaking for lunch, visit a craft workshop specialising in one of the arts for which the city is famous: bronze-casting, marble-carving, wood-carving, or puppetry. The afternoon's tour includes some of the city's most interesting temples and palaces. Begin at Shwenandaw Kyaung, or the Golden Teak Monastery. Built entirely of golden teak, this intricately carved wooden monastery was once part of the Mandalay Palace, used as private apartments by King Mindon and his chief queen. Continue to Kyauktawgyi Paya, famous for its monumental seated Buddha, carved from a single block of marble. Continue to Kuthodaw Paya, known also as "the world's biggest book". Around the central stupa are miniature pavilions, each housing a slab of marble Numbering altogether 729, these slabs are inscribed with the entire Tripitkata, or Buddhist scriptures. The final stop is at Shwe Kyin Old Monastery, an old monastery at the base of Mandalay Hill which was built during the period of King Mindon. Visit Mandalay Hill at sunset. Overnight in Mandalay.
Day 9 Mandalay - Kalaw
Transfer by road from Mandalay to Kalaw. Overnight in Kalaw.
Day 10 Kalaw - Inle Lake
Visit local market then transfer by road from Kalaw to Inle Lake with sightseeing at Pindaya Caves. These caves are ensconced in a limestone ridge overlooking the lake. Inside the cavern there are more than 8000 Buddha images - made from alabaster, teak, marble, brick, lacquer and cement - and are arranged in such a way as to form a labyrinth throughout the various cave chambers. Overnight in Inle Lake.
Day 11 Inle Lake - Heho - Yangon
Excursion by boat on Inle Lake. Inle Lake, located in Shan State, is beautiful, with very calm waters dotted with patches of floating vegetation and fishing canoes. High hills rim the lake on all sides. The lake's shore and islands bear 17 villages on stilts, mostly inhabited by the Intha people. Enjoy the spectacular scenery and observe the skilled fisherman using their leg-rowing technique to propel themselves around the lake. Visit the floating gardens, a market and a Intha village around the lake. The sightseeing also includes a visit to the Phanung Daw Oo Pagoda, Inn Paw Khon Village(Lotus and silk weaving) and the Nga Phe Kyaung Monastery. Transfer from Inle Lake to Heho for your flight to Yangon. Arrive Yangon and transfer to your hotel. Overnight in Yangon.
Day 12 Yangon
Transfer to the airport for your onward flight