After we collect you from the airport and you have checked-into your hotel, kick-off with a city safari of Yangon, formerly know as Rangoon. The city safari goes downtown by the waterfront to look at some of the finest examples of British Colonial architecture remaining in the region including “the Strand”. Visit the Sule Pagoda which is over 2000 years old and also Bogyoke Market which in British Colonial days was called Scott’s Market. The Monsoon Restaurant is a suggested venue for lunch before continuing on to the Chauk Htat Gyi, Rangoon’s reclining Buddha. Enthusiasts of photography will appreciate the next stop which is at Karaweik Hall, the home of the Royal Floating Barge which is a photography prelude to the Shwedagon Pagoda whose golden dome rises 98 metres into the air and can be see throughout Yangon. The Shwedagon Pagoda is one of the most spectacular religious monuments in the world and also one of the most important Buddhist monuments.
After breakfast at the hotel take a short domestic flight to Bagan and once you have settled in dive into the local market for a browse before feasting your eyes on the temple dotted plain of Pagan (Bagan). There are over 4000 temples scattered over the plain of Pagan which date back to the 11-13 Centuries. Your private guide will take you to the most historically important temples and pagodas in the morning that include: • Shwezigon Pagoda - built by King Anawrahta in the early 11th century, • Ku Byauk Gyi, a temple with exquisite murals of Jataka scenes, • Ananda Temple with its four huge standing-Buddha images and numerous seated figures that are arranged around an interior gallery. After lunch at a local restaurant take a short trip to nearby Myinkaba village to visit a lacquer craftsman’s workshop and then its back to the temples of Pagan to see the Mon style Manuha Temple, built in 1059, Nanbaya Temple which is uniquely built from sandstone and Myingaba Gu Byaukgyi Temple which is protected by UNESCO due to the historical importance of its ancient mural paintings. Round-off the afternoon by watching the sunset over the temples which is an extraordinarily beautiful experience with dream opportunities for photography.
Depart in the morning for another short domestic flight to Mandalay and upon arrival journey straight to Amarapura, an old Burmese Royal Capital. Visit Mahagandayon a Buddhist monastery which is home to over one thousand monks and afterwards see U Bein’s Bridge, an impressive legacy of King Bodawpaya who built the bridge in 1851 out of teak wood. It stretches over Taungthaman Lake and is over 1 mile long. From there visit the peaceful, Buddhist bathed Saigaing Hills which, during the 14th and 18th centuries, was home to the former capital of an autonomous Shan Kingdom. Today it is an important Buddhist Retreat, the hills speckled with monasteries and the views utterly picturesque. After lunch at Sagaing Hill Restaurant return to Mandalay for a city safari of city immortalised in poetry, a city that captured the hearts of Rudyard Kipling and Somerset Maugham among others. With cameras at the ready, because opportunities for photography abound, visit the Mahamuni Pagoda that is bedecked in gold leaf, dive into a craftsman’s workshop to see Kalaga tapestries being made and then visit Kuthodaw Pagoda which is famous for housing the world’s largest book. No visit to Mandalay would be complete without venturing to the top of Mandalay Hill to watch the sunset.
In the morning take a domestic flight to Heho and on arrival transfer to Nyaungshwe on the edge of Inle Lake and cross the lake by boat to reach your hotel. Inle Lake is renowned for many things including its spell-binding qualities. Many travellers to Inle Lake who planned on staying for two days or so have ended up staying here far longer. In the afternoon enjoy a leisurely lake cruise to Indaing and absorb the stunning scenery at the Western end of Inle Lake. The cruise takes you past stilted houses and the floating gardens for which the lake is renowned.
Visit a colourful local market and then get back on the lake to witness some more of the unique qualities of this area; the one-legged rowing, the methods of fishing and the floating gardens. In the afternoon visit the the largest pagoda at Inle Lake, Phaung Daw Oo Pagoda. The pagoda houses five Buddha statues that are now adorned with so much gold leaf that you can barely tell their shape. The take a short trip to the weaving village of Inpawkhon. The Intha people weave both silk and lotus plant fibre. The end products of both raw materials are highly distinctive and beautiful. In late afternoon venture back to the shores of the lake to watch the sunset.
In the morning transfer from your hotel by boat back to Nyaungshwe and Heho Airport to catch a domestic flight to Yangon. Depending on your onward arrangements, the rest of the day can be spent exploring Yangon at your own pace with a car and driver at your disposal and they will also take you back to Yangon International Airport for your departure flight.
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