Price starts at $450 Land per person, per day, double occupancy.
Day 1: Bangkok, Thailand
Welcome to Southeast Asia. When you arrive in Bangkok, you take the hotel courtesy shuttle and transfer on your own to the nearby Novotel Bangkok airport hotel where you have a room booked for the night. Novotel Bangkok Airport Hotel – Superior Room
Day 2: Bangkok / Yangon, Myanmar
This morning, you return to the airport on your own by hotel courtesy shuttle to the Bangkok airport in time to connect with you morning flight to Yangon. On arrival in Yangon, you are met and transferred to your hotel. Later, you meet your guide to visit Shwedagon Pagoda by sunset. This pagoda is one of the highlights of any visit to Yangon. It dates back about 2,500 years, having been built to protect eight sacred hairs of the Buddha. Its original shape has changed beyond all recognition over the centuries. Its bell-shaped superstructure, resting on a terraced base, is covered with about 60 tons of gold leaf, which must be continuously replaced. Kandawgyi Palace Hotel – Lake Front Deluxe Room (B)
Day 3: Yangon / Bagan
Today, you are transferred on an early morning flight from Yangon to Bagan, on arrival you are 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 here dates back almost to the beginning of the Christian era, Bagan entered its golden period with the conquest of Thaton in 1057 AD. King Anawrahta started the construction of the Schwezigon Pagoda to enshrine some relicts of Buddha. The construction was finished by his successor between 1086 and1090. Originally, this pagoda marked the northern end of the city of Bagan. The stupa’s graceful bell shape became a prototype for virtually all later stupas in Myanmar. Gubyaukhyi Temple at Wetkyi-Inn was constructed early in the 13th Century and repaired in 1468. The great colorful painting of the previous life of Buddha and the distinguished architecture make this temple distinctive. Ananda Pahto is one of the finest, largest, best preserved, and most revered of the Bagan temples. Thought to have been built around 1105, this perfectly proportioned temple heralds the stylistic end of the Early Bagan period and the beginning of the Middle Bagan period. Another Gubyaukgyi Temple, this one at Myinkaba, was built in 1113, and 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 the oldest original paintings in Bagan. Manuha Temple was built in 1059 by the King of Thaton, and enshrines an unusual combination of three seated and one reclining images of Buddha. Shwesandaw Paya dates from 1057, and is the first monument in Bagan to feature stairways leading up from the square bottom terraces to the round base of the stupa. This pagoda is an ideal spot to catch one of Bagan’s magnificent sunsets. Thiripyitsaya Sanctuary Resort Bagan – Deluxe River View Room (B)
Day 4: Bagan
This morning, you are in for a very special experience – a hot air balloon ride over Bagan! Drifting over the plains and temples of this ancient city offers you views that no ancient king or mystic could have imagined. Upon landing, enjoy some refreshments, before continuing on your touring. Mount Popa rises 737 meters/2,418 feet from the flat surrounding Myingyan Plain. It is an extinct volcano last active 250,000 years ago. It is also the site of many temples, and is considered the abode of Myanmar’s most powerful nats (spirits) and, as such, is the most important nat worship center in the country. You continue to experience the fascinating lore and history of the area. This afternoon, explore Bagan on a privately guided bicycle tour. A vehicle is close by should you wish to explore part by vehicle. 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. You will explore several temples such as Shwegugyi, built in 1311, is an elegant example of the Middle period, a transition in architectural style from the dark and cloistered to the airy and light. Thatbyinnyu Pahto is an ‘Omniscient’ temple, one of the tallest in Bagan, rising to 61m/200ft and dates from around the mid-12th century. Following the sacking of Thaton, King Anawrahta carted off some 30 elephant-loads of Buddhist scriptures, and built Pitaka Taik as a library to house them in 1058. The design follows the basic Early Bagan Gu plan, perfect for the preservation of light-sensitive, palm-leaf scriptures. Nathlaung Kyaung is Bagan’s only Hindu Vaishnavite temple, probably built in the 10th century to serve Bagan’s Indian community of merchants and craftsmen. At Pahtothamya temple, probably built during the reign of Kyanzittha (1084-1113), although it is popularly held to be one of the five temples built by the non-historical King Taunghthugyi (931-964). Painting remnants along the interior passages may rate as the earliest surviving murals in Bagan. Gawdawpalin Pahto is one of the largest and most imposing of the Bagan temples. The name literally means Platform to which Homage is Paid. Bupaya on the bank of the Ayeyarwady is a cylindrical Pyu-style stupa and said to be the oldest in Bagan. Local residents claim it dates to the 3rd century. The distinctively shaped bulbous stupa stands above rows of crenelated terraces. Following your tour check in at your hotel. Thiripyitsaya Sanctuary Resort Bagan – Deluxe River View Room (B)
Please note: During April to September, the balloon over Bagan does not operate due to seasonal rains.
Day 5: Bagan / Mandalay
Today you fly to Mandalay. You are greeted and transferred to your hotel. Explore Mandalay, the last capital of Myanmar before the British conquest of Burma. It still has great importance as a cultural center and religious center, where Mandalay’s Buddhist monasteries are among the most important in the country. About 60% of all the monks in Myanmar reside in the Mandalay area. The city takes its name from Mandalay Hill, the 236-meter/774 foot-high bluff that rises just to the northeast of Mandalay Fort and its royal palace. Kyauktawgyi Pagoda is young by comparison to Bagan’s temples, having been built between 1853 and 1878. Its most important feature is the huge seated image of the Buddha carved from a single block of marble. The marble block from the mines of nearby Sagyin was so colossal that it required 10,000 men laboring for 13 days to transport it from a canal to the current site. Sandamani Paya is a cluster of slender whitewashed stupas. The Paya enshrines an iron image of the Buddha cast in 1802, and transported here from Amarapura in 1874. Mahamuni Paya originally built by King Bodawpaya in 1784 when a road paved with bricks was constructed from his palace to the paya’s eastern gate. The centerpiece of the shrine is the highly venerated Mahamuni image, which was moved here from Mrauk U in Rakhaing in 1784. Kuthodaw Paya has a central stupa modeled on the Shwezigon Paya near Bagan. Began 1857, the paya has been dubbed ‘the world’s biggest book.’ Standing around the central stupa are 729 marble slabs that have been inscribed with the entire Tripitaka, “Three Baskets,” used by Buddhist traditions to describe canons of scriptures. Visit Mandalay Hill, an easy climb up the sheltered steps brings one to a panoramic view over the palace, Mandalay and the paya-studded countryside. The famous hermit monk, U Khanti, is credited with inspiring the construction of many of the buildings on and around the hill in the years after the founding of the city. Sedona Hotel Mandalay – Deluxe Room (B)
Day 6: Mandalay
Today, discover Inwa, Sagaing and Amarapura. Inwa served as an ancient capital of Upper Burma for more than 400 years after the fall of Bagan. There you will find Ava Bridge, engineered by the British. The 16-span bridge dates from 1934 and was the only structure that crossed the Ayeyarwady River until 1998, when a new Chinese-engineered bridge was completed at Pyay. Travel over to Sagaing on the right bank of the Ayeyarwady River. It is widely regarded as the religious center of Myanmar. The Sagaing Ridge is crowded with some 600 pagodas and monasteries, where more than 3000 monks reside. There are also about 100 meditation centers in the area. Thabyedan Fort was the Burmese last defense against the British forces in the third Anglo-Burmese war in 1886. Explore some of the important pagodas here. Sedona Hotel Mandalay – Deluxe Room (B)
Day 7: Mandalay / Heho / Inle Lake
Today, you fly to Heho, where you are met and driven to Inle Lake. At the lake, you take a boat trip that includes a visit to Ywama and Phaung Daw Oo Pagoda. In the Shan State, the lake’s calm waters are dotted with patches of floating vegetation. Fishing canoes slip past you and you can look to high hills that rim the lake. The lake’s shore and islands are home to 17 villages on stilts, primarily inhabited by the Intha people. Villa Inle Resort Inle Lake – Lake Front Villa (B)
Day 8: Inle Lake
This morning, you travel from Inle Lake to In Dein village. In Dein sits on the south end of the lake and is reached by a small canal. A short walk around the village takes you past a school and up a covered stairway to the beautiful Alaung Sitthou area, where ancient stupas are partially hidden in the vegetation. The views of the lake are form here are stunning. Return to your resort. Villa Inle Resort Inle Lake – Lake Front Villa (B)
Day 9: Inle Lake – Kakku – Inle Lake
Today, you set out for a full-day journey to Kakku. Travel into the mountains through beautiful landscapes, passing Pa O villages with the opportunity to visit a market on the way (depending on the day). Explore the magnificent Kakku Temple Complex, a collection of over 2,000 Buddhist stupas dating back to the 12th and 13th centuries. They are concentrated in the space of one square kilometer or less than half a mile square. Many Buddha statues lie scattered in and around the ruins, which are themselves overgrown with vegetation. Return to Nyaung Shwe by vehicle and tranfer by boat to your hotel. Villa Inle Resort Inle Lake – Lake Front Villa (B)
Day 10: Heho / Yangon / Bangkok / Depart
Today you are transferred to the Heho airport for your flight to Yangon, and onward connection to Bangkok. On arrival in Bangkok you will proceed to connect your onward flight home. (B)
Land price, per person, double occupancy: From US$450 per person per day. Internal airfare additional. December surcharge may apply.