Day 1 Arrive Yangon
Arrive Yangon, meet your guide and head to your hotel.
Day 2 Shwedagon Pagoda | Fly Mandalay | Tour Mandalay
Enjoy a traditional Burmese breakfast and then visit one of the most important sights in Myanmar, Shwedagon Pagoda, which is said to enshrine strands of Buddha's hair along with some other holy relics. The golden facade, colorful surrounding pagodas, and visitors from all over Myanmar and the world offers a most picturesque view of this over 2000 year old pagoda. Shwedagon Pagoda is covered with hundreds of gold plates and the top of the stupa is encrusted with over 400 diamonds. Explore the hundreds of other unique temples, stupas, and statues surrounding the base of the pagoda.
Transfer to airport for your flight to Mandalay. On arrival, meet with the guide and start the sightseeing in the second largest city in Myanmar. Manadalay is Myanmar's capital of Buddhism, with many monastaries and temples. Visit the most famous monuments of Mandalay starting with the top of Mandalay Hill for a great view over the Mandalay Fort. Continue on to Atumashi and the Shwenandaw monasteries, excellent examples of the architecture and crafts work of this region. End your day of touring with a visit to Kuthodaw Pagoda with its white marble slab insriptions of Theravada Buddist teachings and largest book in the world.
Day 3 Mandalay by Bike | Cruise to Mingun
Today explore Mandalay by bike, passing through fresh markets, lively neighbourhoods and head northeast of the city. In just a short pedal you'll find yourself in the true countryside, where farmers tend to their fields and villagers go about the daily rituals that have remained unchanged for decades, if not longer. Water buffalo lazily roll in the mud, goats nibble at the foliage, and friendly locals wave from all directions. Along the way make some interesting stops, first at a fresh market to learn about the different produce on sale, continue on to see bamboo weaving which is used to construct everything from roofs and walls to fans. Stop for a walk through a typical central Myanmar village and learn about their way of life and their different crops. On the way back to town, stop at a tea shop for some tea and snacks. Return to Mandalay for lunch on your own and relax before your afternoon tour.
This afternoon board a boat for a cruise upstream the Ayeyarwaddy River to the town of Mingun. Here visit the Mingun Pagoda or Paya, which would have been the world’s biggest stupa had it been finished. Construction started in 1790 but stopped when King Bodawpaya died in 1819, leaving only the bottom third complete. The result is still a huge structure – a roughly 240ft cube on a 460ft lower terrace. Visit the next in King Bodawpaya's massive constructions, the Mingin Bell. In 1808, the King commissioned a bronze bell weighing almost 100 tons. Return by boat to Mandalay and visit the lively Yadanabon market, before returning to the hotel in time to get dinner on your own.
Day 4 Fly Bagan | Pagodas of Bagan
- 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch
This morning fly to the ancient city of Bagan.
Meet your guide and head out explore the former 9th century capital: home to the largest concentration of Buddhist temples, pagaodas, and stupas. Climb to the top of a pagoda to get an impressive view over the archeological complex with thousands of pagodas built during the 9th through 13th centuries. Not only is the view amazing, but this allows you to plan your day by pointing out the temples you want to visit. During the kingdom's peak in the 11th and 13th centuries, over 10,000 Buddhist temples, pagodas and monasteries were constructed in the Bagan, of which the remains of over 2200 temples and pagodas still stand today. Your guide will help you narrow it down, but places like the Ananda, Dhammayangyi, Sulamani, and Thatbyinnyu will certainly impress you. Lunch will be taken at a local restaurant.
Later in the afternoon continue the tour by horse cart to Pyathagyi pagoda for sunset with some refreshing drinks served!
Day 5 Explore Mount Popa
- 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch
This morning drive south of Bagan to Mount Popa a 4,981 ft (1518m) volcano rising out of the dry plains this lush stream filled hill oasis holds great importance to the Burmese. Mount Popa one of the more popular pilgrimage sites in Myanmar, as it is the birth place of the 37 Great Nats of Myanmar, the protective spirirts worshipped in Burmese Buddhism. On the way, explore the countryside including temples in the village of Minnanthu, experience rural village life in Shwe Si Tine, visit the produce market and plantations near Popa.
Return back to Bagan at the end of the day – in time to catch a beautiful sunset.
Day 6 Fly Inle Lake | Day on the Lake
- 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch
Take a morning flight to Inle Lake. On the drive from the airport to the lake catch a glimpse of a life centered around this beautiful highland lake is located in the heart of the Shan Plateau at 3000 feet (900m). The lake is inhabited by many different ethnic groups, the predominate being the Intha, known for leg rowing their boats while fishing.
Take a private motorboat around the lake to discover its natural beauty and explore the culture of the different people living on the water. Float through the floating gardens, witness the famous leg rowers in action while they fish, then stop for tea at a local family’s house. Stroll through a traditional market stalls for colourful weavings, silver jewery, and other handicrafts made by the people living nearby.
Enjoy a traditional Intha lunch with locals. After lunch visit a weaving factory, to see how the colorful fabrics sold in the markets are made from cotton, silk, and the rare lotus plant. Visit a local factory where they make cheroot, Burmese cigars and the Phaung Daw Oo Pagoda, famous for a festival where the community rows a barge in the form of a hintha bird.
Day 7 Explore Inle Lake's villages by bike
- 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch
Visiting Inle Lake is not just about being on the water, but also about discovering the Shan and Intha villages on the banks of the river. This morning hop on bikes to discover several picturesque villages that hug the shores of the lake. Stop at the village of Maing Thauk, where half of the community is built on dry land, while the other half sits on stilts over the water, linked to the shore by a 1,000 foot wooden bridge. Continue the walk uphill to a peaceful forest monastery for with great views over the lake.
Enjoy lunch at the Intha Heritage House for a traditional Intha lunch. A beautiful wooden building on stilts in the middle the lake, the Inthar Heritiage House, is a wonderful multiuse complex. A hospitality school for locals, an art gallery, which hosts quarterly exhibitions of local artists' work, a cat sanctuary, where native Burmese cats lounge about lazily, and then Inthar Restaurant, specializing in organic Chinese and Burmese cuisine. After lunch, visit one of the oldest monasteries built on stilts the Nga Phe Kyaung monastery, also known as the Jumping Cat monastery, where monks have trained the cats to jump through hoops. Return to your hotel by boat.
Day 8 Fly Yangon | Fly home
After breakfast, transfer to the airport for your flight back to Yangon. A car and guide will be available for additional visits until your departure flight.