Golden Land (12n/13d)

The Limestone caves at Pindaya are filled with religious icons

The Limestone caves at Pindaya are filled with religious icons

Day 01: Arrival Yangon Sightseeing
Meet at the airport upon arrival and transfer to the hotel. Sightseeing in Yangon featuring Chaukhtatkyi; a colossal reclining Buddha; the National Museum, filled with artifact and cultural exhibits of Myanmar a scenic photo stops on beautiful Kandawgyi Lake and the Shwedagon Pagoda, arguably the world’s most impressive golden stupa. Overnight at Kandawgyi Palace Hotel (Superior room)

Day 02: Yangon/ Kyeikhtiyo (Car)
Breakfast at the hotel before an early morning drive to Kyaiktiyo (about 5 hours), site of the famous ‘Golden Rock’. It is a large boulder that appears delicately balanced, supposedly by the assistance of a hair of the Buddha, on the edge of a cliff near the top of a mountain and it is one of the most revered Buddhist shrines. We can either go by foot or truck from the base camp to the beginning of the trail where it is a 45 minute walk to the top. Enjoy Golden Rock sightseeing. Overnight at Mountain Top Hotel or Golden Rock Hotel (Deluxe room)

Day 03: Kyeikhtiyo – Bago – Yangon (Car)
Breakfast at the hotel. Viewing the morning sunrise at Kyaikhtiyo is a memorable sight. Descend the mountain to base camp and drive back to Yangon. On the way to Yangon, we will visit some interesting pagodas in Bago. Overnight at Kandawgyi Palace Hotel (Superior room)

Day 04: Yangon/ Heho (Flight), Inle sightseeing
Transfer to the airport to fly to Heho. Driving to unique and magical Inle Lake, located about 1000 meters above sea level and 22 km long by 11 km wide. Highlights include the fisherman rowing in the one-legged style that is characteristic of Inle Lake boatmen, and gardens of grass and earth floating on the surface of this shallow lake, floating strips of ‘land’ for growing vegetables. Another attraction besides the enjoyment of the scenery is a visit to the ‘jumping cats’ monastery, Phaungdaw U Pagoda and silk weaving. Overnight at Golden Island Cottages (Standard room)

Day 05: Indain sightseeing
We continue our Inle Lake sightseeing with a visit to Indain and its enchanting 16th century pagodas. To reach Indain and the nearby village we will take a boat ride up a small scenic creek that runs into Inle lake. Overnight at Golden Island Cottages (Standard room)

Day 06: Inle – Pindaya sightseeing, Heho/ Mandalay (Flight)
Morning transfer to Pindaya and visit its extensive limestone caves filled with Buddha images.  Driving there we will be passing through the PaO and Danu villages of Pwehla and Ji Chanzi and endless fields of dry cultivated mountain rice and potato. Inside the Pindaya Caves are nearly 8,000 Buddha images that have been placed there over the centuries as a form of merit making. Made of various materials and of different sizes, the statues are situated in every nook and cranny throughout the many cave chambers. Then transfer to the airport to fly to Mandalay. Overnight at Mandalay City Hotel (Superior room)

Day 07: Amarapura and Inwa sightseeing
Travel to the former royal capital of Amarapura. The tour highlights Mahagandayon monastery which is a school for young monks, and we will visit the U Bein bridge as well. It is more than two centuries old and at 1.2 km is the longest teakwood span in the world. Visit Inwa, which was founded in 1364 and lasted nearly 400 years as a royal capital. Highlights include the ‘leaning tower of Ava’, Maha Aungmye Bonzan, a brick-and-stucco monastery; and the elegant teakwood monastery Bagaya Kyaung. Overnight t Mandalay City Hotel (Superior room)

Day 08: Mingun and Mandalay sightseeing
We will go to Mandalay jetty where we take a short and pleasant ride upriver to Mingun, the site of what would have been the world’s largest zedi had not King Bodawpaya died in 1819 thus halting all further work. Later an earthquake in 1838 split the monument and reduced it to partial rubble. Nonetheless, it is still a very impressive sight as we approach from the river. Nearby we can also visit the Mingun Bell, moved from the zedi after the earthquake and now hung in a new shrine building. It is said to be the largest hanging uncracked bell in the world. Return to Mandalay. Afternoon visit to Mahamuni Pagoda, gold leaf hammering, Kuthodaw Pagoda, Shwenandaw Monastery and Mandalay Hill. Overnight t Mandalay City Hotel (Superior room)

Day 09: Mandalay – Bagan (Boat)
Breakfast at the hotel.  Early morning departure from Mandalay Port for a fascinating journey on board the local Mandalay-Bagan ferryboat service.  You will travel for a whole day (about 9 hours) along the fabled Ayeyarwady River enjoying the sights and sounds of the river life and just relaxing.   Arrive at Bagan and transfer to the hotel. We may do some sightseeing if we arrive in time. Overnight at Thiripyitsaya Sakura Hotel (Superior room) • Alternatively enjoy taking Pandaw one night cruise to Bagan (Dept. on Monday) OR • Take flight instead during in the off season (Daily). A free day both side and provide airport transfer in/ out only.

Day 10: Bagan sightseeing
After breakfast we are off on our sightseeing tour of one of Asia’s most popular archeological destinations. Highlights include visits to Nyaung Oo Market; and many of Bagan’s distinctive pagodas such as Shwezigon, a prototype of later Myanmar stupas; Wetkyi-in- Gubyaukgyi, a 13th century ‘cave temple with interesting fine frescoes; Ananda Pagoda, one of the finest, largest and best preserved in Old Bagan; and next to it Ananda Ok Kyaung, one of the few surviving brick monastery buildings from the Early Bagan period. We return to the hotel for a rest before our afternoon visit to a lacquerware factory. We will also visit Dhammayangyi Pahto, a massive later period temple with the finest brickwork in Bagan. Then as the sun goes down we will be at one of the ideal viewing sites selected by our tour guide. Overnight at Thiripyitsaya Sakura Hotel (Superior room)

Day 11: Excursion to Mt. Popa and Bagan sightseeing
Morning drive to Mt.Popa which rose from the ground in a massive earthquake in 442 BC. Mt. Popa is famous as the abode of the Nats (Spirit Gods) and for its panoramic view of the local tropical region. On the way back to Bagan we visit a toddy palm juice production plant. Our afternoon sightseeing includes Nagayon, an elegant and well preserved temple containing many Buddhas, the main one which is twice life size and shelters under the hood of a huge serpent; Abeyadana Pahto, of which the primary interest is the fine frescos; Gubyankgyi, in the old Bagan village of Myinkaba, is an early period temple with well preserved paintings inside; and Mingalazedi, the very last of the Late period monuments built before the kingdom’s decline. As the day wanes we will be at Bupaya, a Pyu-style stupa which is located right on the banks of the Ayeyawady river and from where we commence a scenic boat ride to the mid-river where we can see the Shwezigon,  a prototype of later Myanmar stupas, then come back to Ayeyar jetty to disembark. Overnight at Thiripyitsaya Sakura Hotel (Superior room)

Day 12: Nyaung U/ Yangon (Flight), Yangon sightseeing
Transfer to the airport to fly to Yangon. We will go to famous Scott Market, a sprawling 75 year old complex noted for its variety of handicrafts and other items which provide an excellent opportunity for a shopping spree before a visit in China town. We will visit Botataung Pagoda, which is hollow and through which you can walk and see many ancient relics and artifacts. Overnight at Kandawgyi Palace Hotel (Superior room)

Day 13: Departure transfer  
Morning at leisure and departure transfer to the airport.

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