Yangon Full Day City Tour
After breakfast at your hotel, depart with your guide and explore the downtown area of the city. Sightseeing this morning will include the 2000-year-old Sule Pagoda, one of the city’s most endearing landmarks and an opportunity to view the splendid colonial buildings that still dot this part of the city including the City Hall and the High Court Building.
There will also be time to explore Bogyoke Aung San Market, still commonly known by its old British name of Scott Market. Undoubtedly offering the largest selection of handicrafts in Myanmar, the market is a great place to discover a bargain and have fun haggling with the local traders.
Please note the market is closed on Monday.
After lunch at a local restaurant sightseeing will continue with an excursion to the huge reclining Buddha at Chauk Htat Kyi.
Later visit the historic Shwedagon Pagoda which towers almost 98 meters (326ft) above the green cityscape of Yangon. One of the wonders of the religious world, it is believed to have been built more than 2500 years ago and is a testament to the faith of the Burmese. This magnificent building is covered with hundreds of gold plates and the top of the Stupa is encrusted with 4531 diamonds; the largest which is a single 76 carats. One of the most magical times to visit the paya is early evening as the sun is about to set; to witness the serenity and calmness that abounds at this time of the day is an experience that will remain for a very long time.
Twante Day Tour
This morning you will be collected from your hotel and transferred to the jetty for the journey by ferry and jeep to the small town of Twante. The journey in itself is an adventure and affords an excellent opportunity to witness life in the delta. Places of interest in Twante itself include the 250ft tall Shwesandaw Pagoda and the interesting local market. Furthermore, the town is renowned for its pottery and there will also be opportunity to visit the Oh-Bo Pottery Sheds before returning to Yangon later in the afternoon via the same route.
Bago Full Day Tour
Our first stop this morning will be the small town of Bago. First impression does not yield much but this former capital is home to some notable sights, including the sublime Shwemawdaw Paya and the huge Shwethalyaung reclining Buddha. On the way back to Yangon a stop will be made the Taukkyan War Cemetery, the final resting place for thousands of Allied soldiers who lost their lives during the Burma and Assam campaigns of WWII. The cemetery is beautifully maintained by the Commonwealth War Graves Commission.
Yangon Circular Railway
A ride on the slow-moving Yangon Circular Railway presents a fantastic opportunity to observe commuter life in Myanmar’s largest city. Departing from Yangon Central Train Station, there are 39 stops in total and the railway serves the greater metropolitan area. You will take it as far as Insein which is located north of the city proper. Here, disembark and explore the interesting market in this little visited township before driving back to the city centre.
Bagan Full Day City Tour
The day will be dedicated to exploring the temples and the surrounding area. Sightseeing will include Gubyauknge with its excellent stucco carvings, the impressive Htilominlo Pahto and Ananda Pahto which is one the best preserved temples in the archeological zone.
Bagan is not only famous for its temples and pagodas but also for its artistic handicrafts and lacquer ware and after a break for lunch at a local restaurant, there will be the opportunity to visit a local workshop where the process of making these interesting items can be seen.
The only way to truly appreciate the scale of the site is atop one of the temple and early evening presents the perfect opportunity to watch the sunset and take in the enormity of the surrounding area.
Mt. Popa Day Excursion
Approximately 50km from Bagan, stunning Mt Popa is spiritual headquarters of the pre-Buddhist spirits known as ‘37 nat’ and hence an important place of worship. Mt Popa proper is in fact an extinct volcano within Popa Mountain Park whereas the temple is located on Popa Taung Kalat which is accessible via 777 steps that lead up via a covered walkway. Plenty of mischievous monkeys and hawkers line the path. Once at the top, there will be the opportunity to explore the fascinating monasteries, stupas and shrine that abound plus of course enjoy the stunning view back across the Myingyan Plain.
There will also be the chance to visit the Mother Spirit of Popa Nat Shrine which is located at the base of the mountain and for those that do not want to make the climb to the top, there is the option to visit the nearby Sandalwood forest and Medical herb garden.
On the return to Bagan, a stop will be made at a local palm tree plantation.
Balloons Over Bagan Ride
The preeminent and most exhilarating way to see the mystical temples in Bagan is from 1000ft in the air. Balloons over Bagan are able to provide this experience with 45 minute duration sunrise balloon flights operating between October and March. Balloons over Bagan operate three balloons provided by Cameron Balloons UK, the world largest balloon manufacturer. Pilots are from the UK and all balloons are tested and regulated according to British aviation regulations.
Mandalay Full Day City Tour
Sightseeing today will include the spiritually important Mahamuni Pagoda, which houses one the most famous seated Buddha images in all Myanmar. Continue to the Shwenandaw Kyaung (Golden Palace Monastery), an imposing teak monastery-temple that was originally built within the palace complex but subsequently dismantled and rebuilt some years later.
After lunch in a local restaurant continue to Kuthodaw Pagoda which is said to house the world’s largest book on account of the 729 marble slabs that are inscribed with Buddhist scriptures.
Finish the day with a drive to the top of Mandalay Hill for sunset and a panoramic view of the city.
Pyin Oo Lwin Day Excursion
Depart Mandalay for a scenic two hour drive to the former British summer capital of Pyin Oo Lwin. After a brief stop at the Pwe Kauk Falls, explore the colonial buildings that are still scattered throughout the town in various states of disrepair. Adding to the nostalgia, your transportation will be by horse drawn stage coach which trot around the leafy suburbs of this delightful hill station at a relaxed pace.
Later visit the National Kandawgyi Gardens, a beautifully created botanical garden that covers an area of more than 400-acre. First established in 1915 and with over 450 species of plants, flowers and trees as well as museums and an observation tower, the gardens are a delight to visit. In late afternoon you will be driven back to your hotel in Mandalay.
Sagaing, Ava and Amarapura
Starting with a journey across one of the few bridges that spans the mighty Ayeyarwady River, sightseeing today will concentrate on attractions outside of the city.
Once a capital of an independent Shan kingdom, the numerous white-and-gold stupas that adorn Sagaing Hill are an enthralling sight. Sagaing is considered to be the living centre of Buddhism in Myanmar and the hundreds of monasteries and temples reverberate with the echoes of cymbals, gongs and Pagoda bells. There will be time to explore and also take in the fantastic view of the river below.
Continue to the former Royal Capital at Ava (Inwa), where exploration by horse-cart offers the opportunity to discover the picturesque ruins and surrounding countryside at a relaxed and more tranquil pace. Lunch will be at a local restaurant.
Meaning ‘City of Immortality’, Amarapura was Myanmar’s penultimate Royal Capital and the last stop today before returning to Mandalay. Sightseeing will include the iconic U Bien’s Bridge, which spans Taungthaman Lake and is the longest teak footbridge in the world. It is often busy with locals ‘commuting’ back and forth which makes for an attractive photo opportunity.
Monywa Day Excursion
Leaving Mandalay early in the morning, it takes approximately 3 hours to reach the trading town of Monywa. Upon arrival, cross the Chindwin River and visit Pon Win Daung, a rural complex of over 400 Buddha images carved into the lime-stone hillside. The statues and murals date back to the 17th and 18th centuries and the site is a delight to explore.
On the return journey stop at the 20th century Thanboddhay Pagoda, an interesting Buddhist temple complex which is located within the Mohnyin Forest Monastery retreat. Also visit the Bodhi tree forest where each tree has a large image of Buddha beside it and many Buddhist come here to pay homage and seek enlightenment.
A short stroll towards the east will bring you to the Po Khaung Taung, a range of hills from where you can get a great view of the huge standing Buddha at Bodhi Tataung. A long but rewarding day, you will arrive back in Mandalay in the early evening.
Inle Lake Day Tour
The local 5-Day Market rotates between towns in the Inle Lake region. The market is a great place to observe local life with many of the ethnic minorities attending to buy and sell their goods.
After exploring the market and perhaps buying the odd local handicraft or two, it is time to continue to the ruined stupas and temples at the lake-side village of Inndein. A covered walkway leads to the main Shwe Inn Thein Paya, from where (weather permitting) there are great views across the lake.
After lunch at a local restaurant there will be the opportunity to visit Nampan village to see local cigar (cheroot) making and then continue to Inn Paw Khone, a small village that specializes in silk weaving.
The day will end with a tranquil canoe ride to witness life in one of the floating villages that are scattered throughout the lake.
**Please note the schedule for the 5-day market rotation is not available until nearer the time. If necessary, the order of sightseeing will be changed in order to coincide with a market day. On some occasions there may not be a market at all and in this case the guide will make alternative sightseeing plans for the morning in question.
Pindaya Caves from Inle Lake
Today’s excursion to Shwe Oo Min Natural Cave Pagoda at Pindaya passes through some of the most fertile and lush scenery in Myanmar. Home to farming communities that have worked the land for centuries, it is not uncommon to see buffalo-drawn carts and groups of famers wearing the traditional dress of the region.
Of all the caves temples in Shan State, those at Pindaya are the most impressive and there are more than 8000 statues of Buddha adorning the many caves in various shapes and sizes and ranging from centuries-old to almost new. There will be time to explore the caves and on the return journey there will be the opportunity to stop at a local workshop and witness Shan paper and umbrella making.
Kakku from Inle Lake
Surrounded by Pa-O village, the 2478 hillside stupas at Kakku are one of the most impressive, yet least visited sights in Shan state. Build in numerous styles, a number of the stupas are simple in design whilst others are richly decorated and covered in deities. After time to visit the sight, return to your accommodation in Inle Lake.
Tour products may change without notice from time to time so for further information on sightseeing and overland tour options in Myanmar, please contact Destination Asia’s Myanmar office.