Travel to Burma
Travel on your overnight flight to Burma via Dubai with Emirates.
Arrive in Yangon
Upon arrival in Burma you will be greeted at the airport by our local representative before being transferred to your hotel in Yangon, which will be your base for the following two nights.
After having a chance to check in and freshen up you will visit the Shwedagon Pagoda which towers almost 98 meters (326ft) above the green cityscape of Yangon. One of the wonders of the religious world, it is believed to have been built more than 2500 years ago and is a testament to the faith of the Burmese. This magnificent building is covered with hundreds of gold plates and the top of the Stupa is encrusted with 4531 diamonds.
In the evening you will enjoy a welcome dinner with your group at a local restaurant.
Yangon City Tour
After breakfast you will set off for a sightseeing excursion of the city. Along the way you will visit the 2000-year-old Sule Pagoda, one of the city’s most endearing landmarks and some beautiful colonial buildings including the City Hall and the High Court Building.
You will also visit the Botataung Pagoda and the Bogyoke Aung San Market, still commonly known by its old British name of Scott Market. Undoubtedly offering the largest selection of handicrafts in Myanmar, the market is a great place to discover a bargain and have fun haggling with the local traders.
After lunch at a local restaurant (included) sightseeing will continue with an excursion to the huge reclining Buddha at Chauk Htat Kyi and then on to General Aung San’s Museum. General Aung San was a key figure in the country’s struggle for independence and his former house is now a museum.
Transfer to Bagan
This morning you will take a short flight to Bagan, the ‘City of Four Million Pagodas’ where you will spend the following two nights.
En route to your hotel you will explore the temples and the surrounding area. Sightseeing will include Gubyauknge with its excellent stucco carvings, the impressive Htilominlo Pahto and Ananda Pahto which is one the best preserved temples in the archaeological zone.
Lunch will be included at a local restaurant followed by an opportunity to visit a local handicraft & lacquer workshop before checking in to your hotel located on the banks of the Ayeyarwady River.
Market and Village Visit
Begin the morning with a visit to nearby Phwar Saw Village, which afford the opportunity to witness rural Burmese life. En route you will be able to stop at the interesting market at Nyaung Oo to see the variety of fresh produce for sale and gain an insight into the bustling market atmosphere in Bagan.
Lunch today will be in a local restaurant and later this afternoon there is another chance to visit a boat trip to Kyauku U Min Rock Cave Tunnel.
Finish the day with a relaxing sunset cruise on Irrawaddy River before returning to your hotel.
Mount Popa & Transfer to Mandalay
Today you will depart early for the drive to Mandalay. En route you will visit a local palm tree plantation before arriving at stunning Mt Popa, the spiritual headquarters of the pre-Buddhist and an important place of worship.
Mt Popa is an extinct volcano within Popa Mountain Park whereas the temple is located on Popa Taung Kalat which is accessible via 777 steps that lead up via a covered walkway. Plenty of mischievous monkeys and hawkers line the path and once at the top, there will be the opportunity to explore the monasteries, stupas and shrines and to enjoy the dramatic view back across the Myingyan Plain.
There will also be the chance to visit the Mother Spirit of Popa Nat Shrine which is located at the base of the mountain and for those that do not want to make the climb to the top, there is the option to visit the nearby Sandalwood forest and Medical herb garden. Later, depart for Mandalay where you will be based for the following three nights.
Mandalay City Tour
The last capital of the third Myanmar Empire, Mandalay is situated in the centre of the country. It is the largest city after Yangon and is both a bustling commercial centre and a repository of ancient culture. Sightseeing today will include the spiritually important Mahamuni Pagoda, which houses one the most famous seated Buddha images in all Myanmar. Continue to the Shwenandaw Kyaung (Golden Palace Monastery), an imposing teak monastery-temple that was originally built within the palace complex but subsequently dismantled and rebuilt some years later.
After lunch in a local restaurant you will continue to Kuthodaw Pagoda, which is said to house the world’s largest book on account of the 729 marble slabs that are inscribed with Buddhist scriptures. You will end the day with a drive to the top of Mandalay Hill for sunset and a panoramic view of the city.
Mingun, Ava & Amarapura
Ancient Mingun is located on the western bank of the Ayeyarwaddy River and is famous for its huge, unfinished stupa as well as its impressive bronze bell which was commissioned by King Bodawpaya in 1808 and weighs in the region of 90 tons. Reaching the site is part of the enjoyment as you journey by boat (1 hour approx) and returning via the back lanes passing picturesque villages along the way.
You will continue to the former Royal Capital at Ava (Inwa), where exploration is by horse-drawn cart and offers the opportunity to discover the picturesque ruins and surrounding countryside at a relaxed and more tranquil pace. Lunch will be included at a local restaurant.
Meaning ‘City of Immortality’, Amarapura was Myanmar’s penultimate Royal Capital and the last stop today before returning to Mandalay. Sights will include the iconic U Bien’s Bridge, which spans Taungthaman Lake and is the longest teak footbridge in the world. It is often busy with locals ‘commuting’ back and forth which makes for an attractive photo opportunity.
Transfer to Heho
This morning you will be transferred to Mandalay airport for your flight to Heho. Upon arrival you will drive to the Shwe Oo Min Natural Cave Pagoda at Pindaya (1 hour approx). The area is home to farming communities that have worked the land for centuries and it is not uncommon to see buffalo-drawn carts and groups of farmers wearing the traditional dress of the region.
Of all the caves temples in Shan State, those at Pindaya are the most impressive and there are more than 8000 statues of Buddha adorning the many caves in various shapes and sizes and ranging from centuries-old to almost new. There will be time to explore the caves and lunch at local restaurant.
After lunch you will drive to the delightful hill station of Kalaw (1.5 hours approx). Originally founded as a hill station by the British wanting to escape the heat of the plains, Kalaw still retains an air of colonial charm and the surrounding countryside offers some of the best trekking in the country. An interesting observation is the noteworthy population of Nepalese and Indians, who arrived here during the time of the British to work on the construction of the railway and the roads and have remained to this day. You will spend the night in Kalaw.
Kalaw & Transfer to Inle Lake
This morning will be spent exploring Kalaw with places of interest including Aug Chan Tha Zedi, a glittering stupa in the centre of town and the central market, where you can see traders from nearby hill-tribe villages selling and buying their wares. Afterwards you will travel on to Nyaung Shwe (2 hours approx.). Along the way you will stop at a local workshop and witness Shan paper and umbrella making.
Once you arrive at Inle Lake you will board a private boat to visit a floating garden and witness the unique technique of leg rowing which is so synonymous with Intha fisherman before checking in to your final destination, the unique floating duplex rooms at the Pristine Lotus Spa & Resort which will be your home for the last two nights of your stay.
Market & Canoe Ride
The local 5-day market rotates between towns in the Inle Lake region and it’s a great place to observe local life with many different ethnic groups attending to buy and sell their goods. After exploring the market you will continue to the ruined stupas and temples at the lake-side village of Inndein. A covered walkway leads to the main Shwe Inn Thein Paya, from where (weather permitting) there are great views across the lake.
After lunch at a local restaurant you will visit the five ancient gold-covered Buddha images at Phaung Daw Oo Pagoda, the holiest monastery on the lake. You will visit Nampan village to see local cigar (cheroot) making and then continue to Inn Paw Khone, a small village that specializes in silk weaving.
The day will end with a tranquil canoe ride to witness life in one of the floating villages that are scattered throughout the lake.
Transfer to Yangon
You will be transferred to the airport in Heho with guide assistance for your internal flight to Yangon.
Upon arrival in Yangon, you will be transferred to Hotel Yangon, where you will have a room at your full disposal for the remainder of the evening before a late evening transfer to airport for your overnight flight home to Dublin (via Dubai)