This Burma tour can also be booked for a minimum of two persons or as a group tour. The routing can be considered as extended standard program for a Myanmar trip. It can be recommended for those who do not necessarily want to see every corner of the country but would be interested in seeing the most famous and important sights. Plus: The cult caves of Pindaya - and the caves of Powindaung, a highlight of Burmese arts in medieval times.
Welcome to our World!
Day 01 Arrival Yangon: Arrival in the Burmese capital. You will be met at the airport with by our local guide, who will take care of everything from now on. Then you will be brought by minibus/bus to the hotel. In the afternoon, you will get to know our capital on a city tour: Drive along scenic Royal Lake to Karaweik Hall, a ship-like construction built in the shape of the mythological bird Karaweik; have a look at the lake with world famous Shwe Dagon Pagoda in the background! Then visit to huge Reclining Buddha and the octogonal Bo-ta-taung Pagoda in the harbour area along Yangon River. Then, shortly before sunset, the 107 metres high golden stupa of Shwe Dagon Pagoda will glitter in the soft light of the early evening. Optional: Classical dances in the evening? Overnight.
On to Bagan
Day 02 Yangon-Bagan: 80 minutes morning flight to Bagan, the first and most beautiful capital of the Burmese, founded in the eleventh century by a great king. Along with Angkor in Cambodia, this is the most important temple and pagoda complex in Asia. An all-day visit to this huge area - a day full of culture. But we will avoid hectic tourism and will show you the most beautiful temples and pagodas, leisurely but in detail: You will visit Shwezigon Pagoda, the only golden pagoda in Bagan area built by the great king Kyanzittha. Then you will visit the caves of Kyanzittha Umin (with the oldest murals in Burma, showing the Mongolian invasion under Kubilai Khan). In Gubyaukgyi, a perfect Indian-style temple, you will see hundreds of frescoes illustrating the jataka-stories of the previous lifes of Lord Buddha. This morning ends with a visit to huge Htinlominlo Temple. After lunch, continue your tour with a visit to Manuha Temple, erected over huge Buddha-images. Then enjoy the elaborated stone engravings in close-by Nanpaya Temple; on your way further South of Bagan area, you will be impressed by beautiful Abeyadama Temple; your afternoon tour ends at Lawkananda Pagoda in the very South of Bagan, a landmark of Ayeyarwaddy-fishermen. Visit traditional manufacture of unique Bagan lacquer ware. Enjoy sunset over Bagan from one of the pagodas. Overnight.
To the Olympia of the Deities
Day 03 Excursion Mount Popa: In the morning, you will stroll through the marketplace of Nyaung U, and get a glimpse into the lifestyle of Burmese people. You will then admire the Ananda Temple, whose interior seems almost Gothic and who is considered to be the most beautiful among all the temples of Bagan. Then you will be impressed by ancient wall murals in the meditation chamber nearby.´Later on, drive through the sun-parched plain with Palmyra palms to the Mountain of Deities, Popa (2 hours). There you will climb the huge volcanic rock on a staircase to see shrines for nats (celestial spirits of Burmese mythology) and small temples for Lord Buddha. It will take about 20 minutes to reach the top of Mount Popa (Sanscrit word for Flower) and you will pass by many small food stalls and small „drugstrores“selling herbal medicine. Just in time for sunset you will be back in Bagan: Enjoy the scenic beauty of Bagan plains with 1000 years old red brick temples and white-washed pagodas. Overnight.
On the Elephant River
Day 04 Bagan- Pakokku – Monywa: Board a small river vessel for 3 h upriver boat trip to Pakokku. The Ayearwady river offers some scenic view from Bagan panorama. From Pakokku visit then en route to the famous teakwood monastery from Phakanggyi. Continue to Monywa on the Chindwin River second largest river in our country for your overnight at the hotel.
Day 05 Monywa – Powindaung – Sagaing – Mandalay: Early morning in Monywa - after crossing Chindwin River by a small boat, you start the tour by pick-up to Powindaung Caves (1 hour). This cave temple complex is the largest of Southeast Asia and marks a highlight of Burmese medieval arts. Return drive to Mandalay. Underway stopp at Sagaing hills meditation centre. Close to a hilltop pagoda you will be fascinated by the view over temples and pagodas in Sagaing and over Ayeyarwaddy River. Overnight.
The unfinished Pagoda
06 Mandalay-Amarapura - Mingun: In the morning only a short 30 minute „hop“ by plane to Mandalay, where the Konbaung kings resided and eventually capitulated to the British, more than 100 years ago. The sightseeing program will start directly after your arrival: A short drive will bring you then to the temples and small pagodas of former ancient capital Amarapura (Sanscrit for „Beautiful town“). There you can take a walk over the world´s longest teakwood bridge U Bein. Continue drive to Mandalay. Visit to Shwe Nandaw, the famous Golden Monastery, the only one building still existing from more than one hundred once standing on the palace grounds of Konbaung kings. From there you will stroll to Kuthodaw Pagoda with its 729 marble slabs showing the entire Buddhist canon and commemorating the Fifth Buddhist World Council at the end of last century. Then you will admire the huge marble Buddha in a temple nearby. Your tour in the afternoon: Visit to Mahamuni Temple housing the country´s holiest Buddha image, century-old and legendary Arakan Buddha, made of pure gold. Continuatin drive to the jetty. From there you will travel for some hours in a relatively large ship along Burma´s main river, the Ayeyarwaddy, which has its sources in the Himalayas: You will reach Mingun after about 1 hour; here a mighty king wanted to build the tallest pagoda in the world. The ruins marking his failure, however, are impressive enough in themselves; the cast of the largest ringing bell in the world was a success. Return to Mandalay in the late afternoon after another hour boat ride downriver. Overnight.
Gold Buddha in Pindaya
Day 07 Mandalay-Heho-Pindaya-Nyaungshwe-Inle Lake: The flight from the plain of Ayeyarawddy to the Shan Plateau takes only 30 minutes. The Shan are a Thai ethnic group in Myanmar. On your way to Pindaya (2 hours) you will see different styles of Buddhist pagodas and you can stroll through a village of the Pao, a people with tourquoise turbans and black native dress, who derive their origins from a friendly dragon. Visit to the famous Buddhist cult caves of Pindaya, where, for centuries, pilgrims have been placing thousands of Buddha figures; a rapturous experience in the circles of light. Return drive (2 hour) to Nyaungshwe, the biggest village and former capital of local Shan kings at Inle Lake. Overnight.
The Intha (Sons of the lake)
Day 08 Inle Lake-Heho-Yangon: The excursion to Inle Lake, the land of the Intha people, begins in the morning and takes about 4 hours. These people are known as leg-rowers and as architects of floating villages and gardens. The life of the Intha, who originally came from the south of Burma, revolves completely around the lake. Visit the floating market and the great pagoda with five holy Buddha images. Return drive to Heho (1 hour) and in the afternoon a one-and-a-half-hour return flight to Yangon. Overnight.
Please note: During your stay in the area of Inle Lake, an excursion to Katku (or Kakku) can be arranged. The region around Katku was off-limits for foreigners for many years. It has only recently been opened. Here, surrounded by villages of Pao people and west of Inle Lake, nearly 2,500 pagodas were built during the reign of king Alaungsithu in the sixteenth century. The majority have been preserved and are, even today, objects of Buddhist piety. The pagodas are built in typical Shan style and are richly decorated. Although they might be considered of minor significance from an art history point of view, that doesn´t make them any less impressive. The pagodas are some 50 kilometres south of Taunggyi, administrative center of Southern Shan State. The road is being improved now. From Inle Lake, Katku can be reached by boat and by minibus or four-wheel drive vehicles. On tour you also will easily get into contact with Pao in their villages and it is quite an experience to get to know the traditional lifestyle of these people. Please ask for more details.
Day 09 Yangon-Departure: If you have not been on a city tour yet due to late arrival on Day 01, we will provide this morning: Visit to Shwe Dagon Pagoda, you will be touched by the deep religiosity of Burmese people, walking up to this beautiful pagoda to offer flowers and holy water to images of Lord Buddha. Drive along scenic Royal Lake to Karaweik Hall, a ship-like construction built in the shape of the mythological bird Karaweik; have a look at the lake with world famous Shwe Dagon Pagoda in the background! Then visit the huge Reclining Buddha and the octogonal Bo-ta-taung Pagoda in the harbour area along Yangon River. Rest of day at leisure. Transfer out for departure.
Price per Person in US$: Prices for 2010 / 2011 on request