Owing to a long period of isolation, Myanmar (Burma) has remained relatively untouched by the outside world. Its temple-strewn landscapes and royal palaces have survived refreshingly unspoiled. With the country leisurely opening to the world, now is the time to experience this untamed gem.
An ultimate feast for the senses, an unexplored land serving up tempestuous offerings of indulgence.
Myanmar’s stunning gold pagodas, ancient towns and forested landscapes stretch from the highlands in the north to the pristine Myeik Archipelago in the south. A country where every skyline is punctuated with a Pagoda. Bagan alone boasts a collection of over 3,000 Pagodas, a great deserted royal city. Temple architecture, art as stunning as the Pyramids of Egypt. Probably the country’s greatest asset are its people, whose infectious spirit and genuine smiles are hard to beat. Enjoy the awe inspiring scenery and meditate on the one of a kind skill of the local fishermen who use their legs in this unique rowing technique.
Day to Day Program:
Day 1: Arrive Yangon
Transfer to Hotel. Rest of the day is free to adjust with time difference and jetlag.. At sunset, visit the Shwedagon Pagoda, famous worldwide, its golden stupa is the “heart” of Buddhist Myanmar. The Pagoda is believed to be 2,500 years old and the central stupa in surrounded by dozens of intricately decorated building and statues. There are always many Myanmar people praying and making offerings at Shwedagon, and is a fascinating place to spend time watching the world go by. HOTEL
Day 2 : Yangon
After breakfast, you will drive through the colonial style buildings downtown, the Chinatown area and the Indian quarter. Continue to Sule Pagoda, whose 48 meter high golden dome was used by the British as the nucleus of their grid development plan for the city when it was rebuilt in the 1880s. The pagoda’s peculiarity is its octagonal-shaped stupa, which retains its shape as it tapers to the spire. Proceed to Botataung Pagoda, this paya was named after the 1000 military leaders who escorted relics of the Buddha brought from India over 2,000 years ago. This ancient monument was completely destroyed during World War II. It was then rebuilt in a very similar style to its predecessor, however this particular iteration is hollow and one can walk through it. Next, visit the National Museum, a museum with several interesting exhibits, especially the 8 meter high Sihasana Lion Throne, used by King Thibaw Min, the last Burmese king, and returned to Burma in 1908 by Lord Mountbatten. The main floor contains jewelry, old black and white photos of Mandalay Palace and Yangon, royal relics, Hintha opium weights and inscribed tablets. You will make a stop at the Bogyoke (Scott) Market, giving you an opportunity to see Myanmar’s wide range of handicrafts. Stay overnight at the hotel. HOTEL (B)
Day 3 : Yangon
After breakfast, visit the childhood residence of residence of Nobel laureate Aung San Suu Kyi which was a very elegant and peaceful old home now set up as a museum and pretty much left the way it was when the family left after the assassination of her father, General Aung San, in 1947. Continue to Chauk Htat Gyi Pagoda (6 storey tall Buddha) to see the reclining Buddha image, one of the largest statues in Myanmar. The original one was built in 1907 but suffered damage due to the climatic conditions over the years. In 1957 it was demolished and rebuilt in 1966. Similar ones are the Ngar Htat Kyee Buddha (5 storey tall Buddha) and Koe Htat Kyee Buddha (9 storey high Buddha). You will break for lunch at a local restaurant, where you will also meet with a Burmese antiques expert.
Afternoon at Leisure. HOTEL (B).
Day 4: Yangon/Bagan
Early this morning, A Classic Tours Collection’s representative will assist with your transfer to the airport to board flight for Bagan. On arrival, you will be met by A Classic Tours Collection’s representative and transferred to the hotel. One of the great sights of Asia, Bagan is not to be missed. Pagoda after pagoda large and small rises up from the green delta plain; a great deserted Royal City. This was the era of the temple builders, and they left a monument to their art as stunning as the Pyramids in Egypt. Bagan flowered from 1057 to 1287, when the west-moving Kublai Khan overran it.
After a brief rest, begin tour your first stop will be at the Shwezigon Pagoda. Originally the Shwezigon Pagoda marked the northern end of the city of Bagan. The stupa’s graceful bell shape became a prototype for virtually all later stupas all over Myanmar. Next visit Gubyaukgyi Temple at Wetkyi-Inn, built in the early 13th century and repaired in 1468. The vivid colorful paintings and the impressive architecture make this temple an interesting site for a visit. This temple is not to be confused with the Gubyaukgyi Temple in Myinkaba. The temples primary point of interest is most certainly the fine and detailed frescoes depicting scenes from the jatakas, Buddha’s numerous past lives. Please note that ascending the platform of the pagoda is not allowed. Proceed to Htilominlo Temple, a two storey red brick temple built by King Htilominlo around 1211 who was King Narapatisithu’s son.. It is one of the larger temples of Bagan reaching 46 metres and commands the road from Bagan to Nyaung-U. Followed by Ananda Pahto, one of the finest, largest, best preserved and most revered of the Bagan temples. Thought to have been built around 1105 by King Kyanzittha, this perfectly proportioned temple heralds the stylistic end of the Early Bagan period and the beginning of the Middle period. Proceed to Thatbyinnyu Temple, it rises up to 61 meters and is one of Bagan’s tallest monuments. It is also called the Omniscient temple and its enormous size makes it a classic example of Bagan middle period. King Alaungsithu built the Thatbyinnyu Temple in the 12th century.. The Archaeological Museum was built in 1998. The museum gives an interesting glimpse into the glorious past of the area, housing a large number of religious images found in the temples around Bagan. The main gallery hosts the ‘Rosetta Stone’, dating from 1113, which is inscribed in Pyu, Mon, Pali and Burmese, which allowed scholars to decode the Pyu script for the first time. Visit the Dhamayangyi Temple, the brickwork of this temple is said to rank as one of the finest in Bagan. Built in the 12th century, it is not exactly clear which King actually started the construction. Some sources say it was King Narathu, others say it was constructed a little earlier, during the reign of King Alaungsithu. Lastly, tour Mingalazedi Stupa, located South of Bagan, this structure with its soft fluid lines, represents the height of Burmese Pagoda architecture; it was built by King Narathihapati. The stupa is noteworthy for its beautiful terracotta jataka plaques around the terraces. HOTEL (B)
Day 5 : Bagan
After breakfast, you tour commences at Abeyadana Temple, ascribed to King Kyanzittha (1084-1113) and believed to have been the spot where his wife, Abeyadana, came and waited for him when he was in hiding, after Kyanzittha had incurred the wrath of his half-brother, King Sawlu (1077-1084), whom he eventually deposed. Continue to Gubyaukgyi Temple at Myinkaba, built in 1113 by Kyanzittha’s son Rajakumar. This temple 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 to be the oldest original paintings in Bagan. Next visit Myazedi, located next to Gubyaukgyi. It is said to have been built by Anawrahta in order to atone for the crime of killing his predecessor and half-brother, Sokkade, in a duel for the throne in 1044. The small villages around Bagan are known for producing the finest lacquer ware in Myanmar. Stop by one of the workshops and learn about the painstaking process of lacquer ware making and decoration. HOTEL (B)
Balloon Ride: Embark on a sunrise balloon ride for a panoramic bird’s eye view of the ancient 11th century ruin and the Ayeyarwaddy River. Upon landing, you will be served a glass of chilled champagne.
Day 6: Bagan/Mandalay
After breakfast, A Classic Tours Collection’s representative will assist with your transfer to the airport to board flight for Mandalay.. On arrival, you will be met by A Classic Tours Collection’s representative and transferred to the hotel. The city gets its name from the nearby Mandalay Hill. The name is probably a derivative of a Pali word although the exact word of origin remains unclear. The root word has been speculated to be: “Mandala” (meaning, circular plains), “Mandare” (believed to mean “auspicious land”), or “Mandara” (a mountain from Hindu mythology)…. Today, you will visit a gold beating workshop to observe the laborious method for producing the delicate gold leaves used by the devout to adorn shrines, Buddha statues and temples. Next, visit Shwenandaw Kyaung, a monastery of great interest, not only as a fine example of a traditional Burmese wooden monastery, but as a fragile reminder of the old Mandalay Fort. At one time this building was part of the palace complex, and was used as an apartment by King Mindon and his chief queen, and it was here that he died. After Mindon’s death, King Thibaw Min had the building dismantled and reassembled on its present site in 1880 as a monastery.. Proceed to Kuthodaw Paya, the central stupa here was modeled on the Shwezigon Paya at Nyaung U near Bagan.. Building commenced in 1857, at the same time as the royal palace. The paya has been dubbed ‘the world’s biggest book’, for standing around the central stupa are 729 marble slabs on which are inscribed the entire Tripitaka. Followed by a tour of Kyauktawgyi Pagoda, built between 1853 and 1878 and primarily interesting for 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. Enjoy the spectacular views at the time of sunset from Mandalay Hill. Mandalay Hill, is 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. Your last stop will be at 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 center piece of the shrine is the highly venerated Mahamuni image that was transported to Myanmar from Mrauk U in Rakhaing in 1784. HOTEL (B)
Day 7: Mingun Excursion & Mandalay Tour- Boat trip
After breakfast, you will be transferred to a jetty for a boat ride to Mingun, site of the brick pagoda towering 50 meters above the Ayeyarwady River and home to the world’s largest intact bell. The boat trip is interesting as you will see various wooden boats and bamboo rafts, carrying goods up and down the river. Your first stop will be at Mingun Paya, a monument to human ambition, never finished, its size would have dwarfed all contemporary pagodas. Continue to Hsinbyume Paya, dating from 1816. This pagoda was first built by King Bagyidaw and dedicated to the memory of his wife, a Hsinbyume Princess. Like many other pagodas, this structure is a symbolic representation of the mythical Mountain Meru.. Next, visit Mingun Bell, in 1808 Bodawpaya had a gigantic bell cast to go with the gigantic chedi. Weighing 90 tons, it is claimed to be the largest bell in the world. After that, return downstream by boat to Mandalay, visiting Zegyo Market covering 12 acres, was founded during the reign of King Mindon. It was a principal distribution center for beans, citrus fruit, cotton, nuts, onions, rice, tobacco and wheat as well as the main market for jewelry and handicrafts such as silver and gold embroidery. The market was totally destroyed by fire in 1897, and rebuilt in 1903 with a masonry structure designed by an Italian, Count Conte Calderari. In the 1990s, the colonial era structure was pulled down and replaced with a Chinese style shopping center. HOTEL (B)
Day 8: Amarapura & Sagaing Excursions
After breakfast, embark on a full day sightseeing tour of ancient Amarpura. King Bodawpaya (1781-1819) of the Konbaung Dynasty founded Amarapura as his new capital in 1783, soon after he ascended the throne. The city is known for its traditional silk and cotton weaving and bronze casting. The name Bagaya is a Mon word. It literally means Khayebin Kyaung. Visit Mahagandhayon Monastery, the largest Buddhist monastery in Myanmar accommodating more than a thousand young monks.. It was founded around 1914 and is renowned as a center for monastic study and strict religious discipline. It is a typical place to witness the disciplined way of life of Buddhist monks. Distinguish character of this large monastery is the systematic manner of the monks during the lunchtime, having their meal in total silence and systematically in accordance with Buddha’s teachings. Continue to the 19th century Pahtodawgyi Paya The Mingun temple is a monumental uncompleted stupa began by King Bodawpaya in 1790. It was not completed, due to an astrologer claiming that, once the temple was finished, the king would die. The completed stupa would have been the largest in the world at 490 feet. Huge cracks are visible on the structure from the earthquake of 23 March 1839.. Like many large pagodas in Myanmar, a pondaw paya or working model of the stupa can be seen nearby. King Bodawpaya also had a gigantic bell cast to go with his huge stupa, the Mingun Bell weighing 90 tons, and is today the largest ringing bell in the world. The weight of the bell in Burmese measurement, is 55,555 viss or peiktha (1 viss = 1.63 kilograms), handed down as a mnemonic “Min Hpyu Hman Hman Pyaw“, with the consonants representing the number 5 in Burmese astronomy and numerology. Proceed to Bagaya Monastery, a Buddhist monastery built on the southwest of Inwa Palace…. This magnificent monastery is also known as Maha Waiyan Bontha Bagaya Monastery.. During King Hsinbyuushin’s reign (1763-1776), Maha Thiri Zeya Thinkhaya, town officer of Magwe built the monastery in the Bagaya monastic establishment and dedicated to Shin Dhammabhinanda. See the U-Bein Bridge, which is over a kilometer long and made entirely of teak. During the dry season the bridge crosses dry land. U Bein was the mayor at the time of relocating the city from Innwa to Amarapura and he wisely salvaged materials from the deserted Innwa Palace to build this bridge. It has stood the test of time for two centuries. You will travel to Sagaing, another former royal capital and the spiritual centre of Myanmar. Hundreds of stupas, monasteries, temples and nunneries are to be found in Sagaing Hill, sometimes known as a living Bagan.. Thousands of monks and nuns retreat here for meditation and contemplation. Stop at some of the most famous temples such as Sun U Ponya Shin Paya, U Min Thonsei Paya and Kaung Hmu Daw Paya. The Thabyedan Fort was built as a last ditch defense before the third Anglo-Myanmar war. Visit Innwa (Ava), located on an island between the Ayeyarwady and the Myitnge Rivers. Followed by a visit to 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 centre piece of the shrine is the highly venerated Mahamuni image that was transported to Myanmar from Mrauk U in Rakhaing in 1784. HOTEL (B)
Day 9: Mandalay/Heho/Inle Lake
After breakfast, fly to Heho, Meeting assistance and transfer to the edge of Inle Lake to board your boat that will transport you to the hotel. Inle Lake is a freshwater lake is the second largest lake in Myanmar with an estimated surface area of 44.9 square miles, and one of the highest at an elevation of 2,900 feet. Inle Lake radiates the calm serenity of the Shan state, with persuasive still waters and colorful brush strokes of floating vegetation and slow moving fishing canoes most visitors never want to leave this picturesque haven. Rolling high hills hug the lake on all sides as the lake’s shore and islands host 17 villages on stilts, mostly inhabited by the Intha people. Enjoy the awe inspiring scenery and meditate on the one of a kind skill of the local fisherman who use their legs in this unique rowing technique to glide themselves peacefully around the lake. Visit the enchanting floating gardens, a teeming market and a peaceful Intha village around the lake. Embark on a lake excursion to visit Phaung Daw Oo Pagoda, one of the famous principal shrines in Myanmar. Five small Buddha images are housed and are revered by the lake dwellers. Once a year, late September/early October, a pagoda festival is held where four of the five Buddha images tour around the lake in a colorful barge. Continue to the weaving village of Inn Pawkhone, where the lotus root weavers use lotus root strands weaving together to make cloth, used to create the traditional longyi. Lastly visit Nga Phe Kyaung Monastery, is an attractive wooden monastery built on stilts over the lake, constructed at the end of the 1850s. Aside from its collection of Buddhas the monastery is interesting to visit since its monks have taught a few of the many cats living with them to jump through hoops. HOTEL (B)
Day 10: Inle Lake
After breakfast, travel by boat to the western shore of the lake to a stairway and walk roughly for. 10 minutes to the hidden Indien Temple Complex of decaying wooden stupas surrounded and overtaken by huge banyan trees offers an evocative and contemplative scene reminiscent of the Khmer temples at Angkor Wat.. Proceed to Sae Ma Village, roughly a 45 minutes ride. On arrival, you will traverse through the rice fields to the village of Sae Ma, visiting the village and the local school. This afternoon, meet the people in the villages on the lake and travel to one of the monasteries, roughly 45 minutes from Sae Ma Village to observe the monastic activities. Continue to the 5 day rotational market…. This market changes locations every five days, where local tribal peoples come to buy and sell their goods. Items range from handmade crafts to produce grown on the floating gardens. You will find that the various hill tribes adorn colorful clothes as they barter in this lively setting. HOTEL (B)
Day 11: Inle Lake
This entire day is at leisure to relax by lake/ swimming pool or walk around the nearby villages etc.. HOTEL (B)
Day 12: Inle Lake/Heho/Yangon/Depart
Road transfer to see the countryside en route to airport. Board flight to Yangon and onward connection to International return flight.
LAND TOUR: valid till Apr. 2019
$ 2, 735.00 per person sharing.
Single room- $ 3,850.00
Internal Myanmar airfare (Economy class) – $ 470.00 per person
Airfares are subject to availability & change by the airlines without notice.
Discounted International airfares available in First, Business & Economy class from your home city. Check at time of booking.