Cultural Discovery

9 Days - 8 Nights Amarapura, Ava, Bagan, Heho, Indein, Inle Lake, Mandalay Division, Mt. Popa, Nyaung Shwe, Sagaing Division, Yangon Division Small Group Experiences

Tour Overview

A visit to Myanmar is a magical experience and the journey is designed to offer the most highlighted destinations of Myanmar. Experience the remarkable culture of Mandalay and its Ancient cities around. Then, an enjoyable day cruise is a distinctive way to explore the outstanding beauty of Ayeyarwady from Mandalay to Bagan. Explore many ancient stupas which fill Bagan’s incredible dynasty and admire the beautiful floating gardens & villages in Inle Lake. End with the fascinating city of Yangon and you will experience more than just the key attractions but also soak up the unique experiences Myanmar has to offer.

Travel itinerary

  • Day 01: Arrive Mandalay

    Welcome to Mandalay, the last royal kingdom of the country. Once arrived, observe Mandalay’s various agricultural landscapes and villages on a panoramic drive to Mandalay city. Transfer to the hotel and leisure.

    Late this afternoon, start exploring some of the most hallowed attractions in Mandalay visit to Shwe Kyaung (Golden Palace Monastery) – an excellent example of a traditional wooden building. Continue to visit Kuthodaw Pagoda, home to ‘the world’s largest book’, a collection of more than 700 marble slabs inscribed with Buddhist teachings.

    The day concludes at Mandalay Hill; enjoy the magnificent view of the city and surrounding countryside from Mandalay hill as the sun sets on the horizon.
    Overnight in Mandalay.

  • Day 02: Mandalay – Sagaing – Ava – Amarapura – Mandalay (B)

    Start explorations of Mandalay after breakfast with a visit to Mahamuni Pagoda, home to a specular Buddha image covered with thick layers of the beautiful gold leaf.

    Afterward, discover the former ancient Kingdom of Sagaing, cross the bridge over the Ayeyarwady River to Sagaing Hill covered with white, silver and gold pagodas and monasteries that are decorated along the riverside.

    After reaching the bottom of Sagaing Hill, drive to the summit for sweeping panoramic views, a noteworthy Pagoda on the hill is Soon U Ponya Shin Pagoda was originally built in 1312. The temple offers spectacular panoramas of pagoda-decorated hills with the Ayeyarwaddy River flowing beyond.

    Continue visit, Umin Thonze Pagoda also known as 30 Caves Pagoda filled with 45 beautiful gilded Buddha images which are unique in a different size. The golden statues, set in turquoise colored tiled mosaic hall, form an impressive sight. These thirty caves make for some excellent photo opportunities.

    From here, admire an amazing view of the beautiful green valley below and many stupas around.

    It’s time to explore one of the monasteries which are home to many monks. In his lifetime, a Myanmar male is expected to spend some of his life serving as a monk to learn the ways of Buddhism. Upon time permitting, observe lunch offering time at the monastery their last meal in a day.

    Head out to Ava (Inwa), the ancient capital city (30 mins), required to cross the river and ride in a horse cart for a few minutes to reach an incredible teakwood monastery (Bagaya Monastery). Admire the impressive woodwork and the 267 carved pillars. Not far from here, stand the ruins of another monastery, built with bricks and stucco, the Maenu Okyaung.

    The last in a day, to Amarapura, heat to U Bein bridge a 200-year old, built-in 1782 and reputed to be the world’s longest teak footbridge. Enjoy a stroll along the bridge and the fabulous views of the surrounding farms and streams.

    Following the sightseeing, return to Mandalay and take the rest evening for leisure.
    Overnight in Mandalay.

    Breakfast included
  • Day 03: Mandalday – Bagan (B,L)

    Mandalay to Bagan by boat – 239 km ( 9 hrs ) 

    To get a unique experience, traveling by cruise is one of the best ways to appreciate the picturesque landscape along the Ayeyarwady River. Instead of traveling by road or a domestic flight, a day cruise offers a different perspective. The journey will take approximately 8 to 10 hours depending on the water level.

    Early morning breakfast at the hotel and transfer to the jetty to board a day cruise to Bagan along the Ayeyarwady River. Admire the natural beauty of the river and the life of its banks and enjoy breathtaking views by scenes of everyday life as family fishing boats pass and children wave from the shore.

    Short visit to a small local village at a riverbank and it’s a perfect opportunity to learn about local life along Ayeyarwady River. After exploring the village, the cruise continues to sail down to Bagan.

    Enjoy Picnic Lunch on board and relax for the whole day.

    Upon arrival in Bagan, orientation tour on the way to the hotel. The rest evening is at leisure and overnight in Bagan.

    Breakfast included
    Launch included
  • Day 04: Bagan (B)

    After breakfast at the hotel, discover the highlights of Bagan, first reach the vibrant morning market at Nyaung-U, join the residents pursuing a colorful array of fruits, vegetables, rice, handmade furnishings and clothing.

    Visit the splendid Shwezigon Pagoda, built by King Anaweahta in the 11th century; the bell-shaped, gilded structure became the prototype for virtually all later pagodas in Myanmar. This is an important shrine and the main center of pilgrimage in Bagan. Note the golden mass and peaceful stability it seems to exude.

    Following a visit to Shwezigon Pagoda, head to the masterpiece of early architectural style, the Ananda Temple, one of the finest, largest and best-preserved of the Bagan temples. The Ananda was built in 1091 by Kyansittha and is said to represent the endless wisdom of the Buddha.

    After discovering the masterpiece, stop for photos of the stunning panorama of the Bagan temple site.

    After lunch, take a relaxing afternoon for a break at the hotel.

    Afternoon, visit Damayangyi Pagoda, a massive temple built similar in layout to the Ananda. However, this temple is much larger and was built by King Karathu in 1160.

    Aside from its profusion of pagodas, Bagan is also famous for its handicrafts, especially lacquer ware. Visit the local village of Myinkaba with a long-standing tradition to see the intricate process involved.

    A great way to explore old Bagan and see majestic Temples is by horse cart OR E-bike in the Archaeological zone before reaching the sunset hillock. Finish the day with a spectacular sunset at the majestic view of ancient temples and pagodas.
    Return to the hotel and overnight in Bagan.

    Optional Activity: Bagan Village Lunch Experience

    Experience with a typical Bagan village, live close to nature, and drive through to one of the traditional villages where you can witness country life. This typical village is a perfect way to discover traditional ways of life and interact with friendly local villagers. This is a tranquil and isolated village where you will have the opportunity to have lunch at the village home. Enjoy a Typical Myanmar style lunch catered by one of the restaurants from Bagan.

    Breakfast included
  • Day 05: Bagan – Mt.Popa – Bagan(B)

    Enjoy breakfast at the hotel this morning and discover a local life excursion to Mt. Popa (59 km) away from the Bagan. Stop off en route to observe the toddy farmers’ life and process of jaggery making (That is worth to observe ways of local people living along the way).

    Mt. Popa, rising 1,518 meters above sea level is an extinct volcano covered in forests and now a national park. Mt. Popa is believed to be the sacred home of the Nats (spirit gods) and 777 steps of Mount Popa are a pilgrimage site first and also famous for the nature monkeys adorn the passageways.

    On top of a rocky crag is a picturesque complex of monasteries, pagodas, and shrines that can climb via a winding, covered walkway (777 steps). The setting is quirky, with hundreds of wild monkeys lazing on the stairs, seeking food handouts.

    After returning to Bagan, relax and enjoy the hotel facilities.
    The rest of the day is leisure. Overnight in Bagan.

    Optional Activity : Meditation Experience at Temple

    Meditation can be described as self-purification by self-observation. Taught by Buddha in India over 2,500 years ago, meditation is still viewed as a path to enlightenment and self-understanding.

    Admire the meditation experience at a beautiful temple with candle lights to create unique memories once a time in Bagan.

    Breakfast included
  • Day 06: Bagan – Heho – Nyaung Shwe jetty – Inle Lake (B)

    Begin the journey to Inle Lake with a morning transfer by scheduled flight to Heho, a gateway to Inle lake (approx.: 40 mins). Once, it is a scenic one hour drive to Nyaung Shwe valley at the edge of Inle Lake.

    Along the way to Inle Lake, stop at a local family-run workshop to observe paper making for the production of traditional Shan parasols.

    Stop at “Shwe Yan Pyay”, a beautiful red-painted teak building dated back to the 19th century. Unlike many other famous monasteries and pagodas in Myanmar, Shwe Yan Pyay Monastery does not bear the spirit of royal architecture.

    Next up is a short drive into Red Mountain Winery at the edge of the hill. It is hard to believe there is a vineyard in such a sub-tropical country Myanmar. A great combination of French wine experts and Shan native created Red Mountain in 2003 and the lovely property has expanded to produce 120,000 bottles each year of various reds and whites, most notably its Sauvignon Blanc. Explore the winery and enjoy a snack along with tastings of four wines while taking in the views of terraced vines and distant pagodas.

    Afterward, travel to the jetty to board a local boat trip – a photographer’s dream. Its calm waters are dotted with floating vegetation, fishing canoes and scenic hills provide the perfect backdrop. See the lake’s unique ‘leg rowers’ – Intha fishermen who row standing up with one leg wrapped around a single oar, leaving their hands free to manipulate the conical fishing net.

    Marvel at Phaung Daw Oo Pagoda, the holiest religious site in southern Shan State.

    And then, stop to see traditional handicrafts silk weaving on wooden handlooms and fabrics with the fibers of the lotus flower. Pass endless floating gardens, where Intha lake dwellers grow fruit and vegetables.
    After a day of exploring, transfer to the hotel and overnight in Inle.

    Breakfast included
  • Day 07: Inle lake – Indein – Inle Lake (B)

    Enjoy breakfast at the hotel, explore a 5-day rotating market (if the visit coincides with the schedule) which offers an insight into the life of the ethnic Pa-O, Danu and Intha people who come to these markets to sell and buy goods.

    Long-tailed boat across the lake to Indein at the western end of Inle for one of the most scenic trips on the Lake. Disembark at the jetty and walk for a few minutes through Indein village to reach the 14th – 18th century pagoda ruins of Nyaung Oak. A covered walkway popular with souvenir stall holders leads up to Shwe Inn Thein Paya, a complex of weather-beaten 17th – 18th century zedi; some newly reconstructed.

    Continue visit to cheroot maker’s workshop where typical Burmese cigars are made by hand and pass by a traditional blacksmith’s forge.

    It’s time to explore the canoe boat experience by Inle Canoe Lady. The canoe will be rowed by local women who work at the cigar workshop but are offering this short trip to provide their families with an extra income. The canoe through the channels, between the houses built on stilts and the floating gardens of the “Intha” who live in the lake. Once back to the hotel, time to leisure for the rest of the evening. It’s time to watch the sunset over postcard views of the lake.
    Overnight in Inle Lake.

    Optional Activity: Exotic Floating Lunch in the Lake

    An experience unlike any you have ever known lunch at a private floating restaurant on Inle Lake. Special designated floating restaurant transformed from a local rice carrier boat. Your private onboard chef prepares traditional Shan food on the boat when you enjoy the magnificent scenery of clear waters, local fishermen, and mountains. Truly, an experience you will never forget and a rewarding experience in your stay in Inle Lake.

    Breakfast included
  • Day 08: Inle lake – Heho – Yangon (B)

    Start the day with a delicious breakfast and transfer to the airport to take the flight back to Yangon (approx.: 75 mins).

    Formerly the capital city of Myanmar, Yangon’s history includes shifts in power from Eastern to Western and back and its landscape reflects that diversity.

    Heat out to the heart of the city center, a mix of pagodas, monuments and colonial buildings walking expeditions through Yangon’s buildings, some of which are on the Yangon City Heritage List. City Hall is a fine example of Myanmar design with its tiered turrets, pass St Mary’s Church and the grandiose Secretariat Building, also known as the Ministers’ Building.

    This is the perfect way to learn Yangon’s vibrant street life with lots of street market stalls including snacks, food and fruits. There will be a chance to taste local food along the way.

    From here, enjoy a respite and refreshment at one of the local tea houses for a chance to experience Myanmar tea culture, another way to throw back the influential British rule in the colonial era.

    Continue to visit the famous Bogyoke Market (Scott Market) with hundreds of shops for food, clothing, crafts, and precious stones.

    Complete last day in Myanmar, visit the magnificent Shwedagon Pagoda. Sheathed in gold, the magnificent monument is believed to be 2,600 years old and it’s one of Yangon’s premier attractions and the pagoda’s spire soars a massive 326 feet into the air. This stunning stupa attracts pilgrims from all over the world. After enjoying the breathtaking view of the sunset with the background of Shwedagon Pagoda, drive back to the hotel. Overnight in Yangon.

    Important Notice: The Bogyoke Market (Scott Market) will be closed every Monday and public holidays.

    Breakfast included
  • Day 09: Depart Yangon (B)

    Enjoy a leisurely breakfast at the hotel. Spend the day for your own leisure time until transfer to Yangon International airport for the onward flight. Conclude Myanmar Holidays with unforgettable memories as ever.

    Breakfast included

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