December 2 - 16, 2016
Arrive Yangon – Bago
On arrival at Yangon airport, your guide will welcome you to Myanmar. We then drive to Bago, once an ancient capital of Myanmar. Check in at the hotel and the rest of the day at leisure. Overnight in Bago.
Bago – Kyaikhtiyo
After breakfast at the hotel, drive to Kyaikhtiyo in the Mon state, site of the famous ‘Golden Rock’. It is a large boulder, which appears delicately balanced, supposedly by the assistance of a well-placed hair of the Buddha, on the edge of a cliff on top of a mountain. It is one of the most revered Buddhist pilgrimages. Take a local truck from the base camp to the beginning of the walking trail from where it is a 45-minute walk to the top. You can also be carried up on Sedan Chairs by porters if you find the climb too steep. At the summit you can enjoy a beautiful sunset with spectacular mountain views and the many local pilgrims. Overnight on Kyaikhtiyo.
Kyaikhtiyo – Bago – Yangon
After Breakfast at the hotel, make your descent back to Kinpoun base and take a drive back to Yangon. En Route, stop in Bago and see its old heritage sites. Once the centre of the Mon Empire it is home to extraordinary sights such as Shwemawdaw Pagoda, even tal ler than the Shwedagon pagoda; Shwethalyaung, the most life-like of all reclining Buddha’s, and Kanbawza
Thardy, the old palace of King Bayint Naung. In the late afternoon return back to Yangon. Overnight in Yangon.
Yangon – Heho – Inle Lake
After breakfast transfer to Yangon domestic Airport for a flight to Heho. Upon arrival, take a scenic drive to Pindaya (1 ó hour drive). Visit the famous Shwe U Min cave where pilgrims donated thousands of Buddha images over the span of many centuries. Visit a traditional Shan Paper parasols making home industry at the foot of Shwe Oo Min Hill. Afterwards stop for a lunch break before carrying on to Inle Lake. On the way to Inle Lake, stop at the wooden Shwe Yan Pyay Monastery which features beautiful carvings and a collection of Buddha images. Finally arrive at Nyaung Shwe jetty where you will then take a boat ride to your
hotel on the lake. Overnight on Inle Lake. Inle Lake Sightseeing
After enjoying breakfast at the hotel, enjoy a full day of sightseeing. Pass villages built on stilts on the lake, inhabited by the local Intha people. Observe the legrowing fishermen and see their floating gardens constructed with strips of water hyacinth and mud and anchored to the bottom with bamboo poles. Continue to Phaung Daw Oo Pagoda, the lake’s main sanctuary, which contains five sacred Buddha images covered in gold leaf. Visit Thar Lay village to meet with friendly local Inthar people. Afterwards, explore the local craft industries of Inle Lake with a stop at the weaving village of Inpawkhone; a cheroot factory, where Burmese cigars are made by hand. And then stop at Ngaphekyaung Monastery before heading back to the hotel Overnight on Inle Lake.
Inle Lake – In Dein
After breakfast, visit the 5 day rotating market, which alternates its location around the lake’s villages in a 5 day cycle. It is frequented by the lake inhabitants and surrounding hill tribes who come to sell and trade their wares. (Note: market is daily except on luna holidays) Then, ride along the small canals leading to the Pa-oh village of In Dein. Explore the area on foot, strolling around the village, visit a local school, wander through the beautiful Alaung Sitthou area. Then climb the stairway to the top of a hill with its picturesque ancient stupas and magnificent views of the lake below. After enjoying a visit to Indein, return to the boat for additional sightseeing before returning to your hotel. Overnight on Inle Lake.
Inle – Heho – Bagan
This morning, transfer back to Nyaung Shwe by boat then take a drive to Heho airport for your flight to Bagan. Upon arrival at Bagan, begin sightseeing with a visit to Kyauk Gu U Min. This beautiful temple has exquisite stone carvings depicting religious figures and flowers on the door. The temple itself is built against the side of cliff, so behind the main hall of the temple you can enter a cave. Inside the cave there are several small niches where individuals can practice meditation. Legend states that the cave was built during the 13th century for the locals to hide from the invading Mongols. After your exploration of Kyauk Gu U Min, stop at Shwe Hlaing Village, where its inhabitants produce various items from the toddy palm trees. You will be able to observe traditional production of palm toddy—from the collecting of the liquid to the creating of alcohol and palm sugar. Enjoy a traditional lunch break in this village and observe the local way of life. Then drive to the hotel and check in. After freshening up take a horsecart ride to one of the many elevated temples to watch a beautiful sunset over the pagoda-filled plains. Overnight in Bagan.
Today, start sightseeing by exploring the Shwezigon Pagoda, Bagan's most important reliquary shrine. Then continue to Kyansittha 'Cave' Temple with the 13th Century frescoes adorning its corridors Gubyaukgyi (Wetkyi In village). Htilominlo, the last Bamar style temple built in Bagan. We can ride open horse pulled carts through the vast temple empire. In the afternoon, continue marveling at the diversified styles of the temples. See the Ananda Temple, Bagan’s finest monument with four standing Buddhas. Take a photo stop at the tallest temple measuring 61 meters –Thatbyinnyu known as 'temple of omniscience'. Then visit to Dhammayangyi and Mingalazedi, the last of the large temples built in the 13th Century, representing the pinnacle of Myanmar architecture. The last is to enjoy the sunset at Shwesandaw or somewhere. Return back to your hotel. Overnight in Bagan. After breakfast, start your excursion to Salay and Mount Popa. Begin with a drive south, parallel to the Irrawaddy River to Salay. After about an hour’s drive stop at Chauk and explore its colorful morning market. Few tourists visit this market and it is a great place for local interaction and photos. Continue to Salay (another 30 minutes), it an important Buddhist landmark in Myanmar with many active monasteries. Salay, many years ago, created its own unique style of Bagan-era architecture. While visiting Salay you will learn more about monastic life, Burmese Buddhism and the unique architectural style evident in the Yoke Sone Kyaung monastery, one of the oldest wooden halls in the area. Afterwards head east towards Mount Popa, an extinct volcano standing 1518 meters high, it has played an important role in Myanmar culture, religion and history since the earliest times. Its shrine is dedicated to the worship of the 37 Nats, the Burmese ancient animist spirits. Learn about nats and nat worship as you climb the stairs to the top. The view over the Myingyan Plain from the top of the volcanic peak is impressive (and the climb is optional!). On the way back to Bagan, visit the Popa Mountain National Park. Overnight Bagan.
Bagan – Thandwe – Ngapali Beach
After breakfast transfer to Nyaung U airport for flight to Ngapali Beach. Upon arrival at Thandwe Airport, transfer to Ngapali Beach by car. Once reaching the the 3-kilometer stretch of white sand beach, check in to your hotel and then relax on the beach. Overnight in Ngapali.
At leisure on the beach. Optional Trip: The diving around Ngapali Area and Maung Shwe Lay are still largely unexplored. There is an abundance of colorful reef fish as well as diverse soft and hard corals, a few hours sailing from Ngapali. Overnight in Ngapali.
Ngapali Beach Optional Trip: This calm and slow Thandwe River runs along rural landscape and ends at the sea. Life along the river banks is a joy to explore. Small villages, fishing camps, a lovely temple overlooking the river and farms. See dugout canoes being paddled with reeds. Fishing is the main business in the dry season and farming in the wet season. Bicycles and Ox carts are the main form of transportation. Meet the locals and experience their way of life. Overnight in Ngapali.
Ngapali – Thandwe – Yangon
After breakfast, enjoy a few hours at the beach before transferring to the airport for your flight back to Yangon. Upon arriving at Yangon, you’ll be met and transferred directly to downtown Yangon. Here you’ll witness a labyrinth of historic streets concealing some of the most exceptional British colonial-era architecture. Begin with a visit to Sule Pagoda, walk around to the city hall, independent monument and post office along the Strand Road. The downtown area is also a home to the bustling Scott Market, built by the British in 1926, it is a great place to find wonderful souvenirs, quite a shopper’s paradise. Finally enjoy a stunning sunset at the Shwedagon Pagoda, the incredible
famous golden stupa is the 'heart' of Buddhist Myanmar. The Pagoda is believed to be 2,500 years old and the central stupa is surrounded by dozens of intricately decorated buildings and statues. There are always many Myanmar people praying and making offerings at the Shwedagon, and it's a fascinating place where you can spend time, watching the world go by. Seeing this temple complex is believing. Like heaven touching the earth. Overnight in Yangon.
Yangon – Final Departure TBA
Breakfast at the hotel. Enjoy the day at leisure before group transfer to the airport for your international flight. (Individual transfers are not included).