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Explore Myanmar’s history and countryside
- The grand Shwedagon Pagoda, the heart of Myanmar in Yangon
- Explore the legendary history of Pyu at Sri Kestra
- Akauk Taung cliff carved Buddha images along the Irrawaddy River
- Visit the oil pot of Myanmar – Magway & Yenangyung
- Explore the ancient history of Myanmar at Bagan
Visiting the charming town of Pyay and one of the ancient Pyu cities, Sri Ksetra, is a highlight of Myanmar. Taking a boat to visit the Akauk Taung cliff cravings is the best way to see the hundreds of figures and it remains a mystery as to how and why they carved so many statues into the cliff face.
Yenangyaung, a small town in rural Myanmar, offers a great experience to see traditional rural life in Myanmar. Here we can visit a school and meet the friendly villagers.
The ancient city of Bagan, built on the banks of the Ayeyarwaddy River, is the second heart of Myanmar, in addition to Yangon’s Shwedagon Pagoda. Bagan is known for its ruins of many temples and stupas. We will get an explanation of the history of many of the temples. While some temples are well preserved, others have been severely damaged by war and earthquakes over the centuries. All make great photo opportunities. Waking up early to catch the sunrise over Bagan’s temples is a magical experience.
Mandalay is filled with the sense of the old days as being the former royal capital of Myanmar. Nowadays, Mandalay is Myanmar’s second most important commercial city and has plenty of interesting places to explore. One of the major places of pilgrimages is the Mahamuni Buddha Temple. Inside the temple is a large sacred statue, called the Mahamuni Buddha image. Mandalay is surrounded by many historical and religious places of interest, and a beautiful countryside.
Day 1 : Yangon arrival and sightseeing
We start our day of exploring downtown Yangon on foot by visiting the beautiful colonial buildings. First on our list is the Yangon City Hall which is centrally located in downtown Yangon and is considered a fine example of Burmese architecture, featuring a traditional roof. City Hall is close to several important landmarks such as Sule Pagoda, Maha-Bandula Park, the High Court, and the Main Post Office – all impressive colonial-style buildings. We will have lunch at an authentic Myanmar restaurant, and then visit the famous Bogyoke Aung San Market (known as Scott Market) with its 2,000 sprawling shops for clothing, gemstones, jewellery, traditional arts & crafts and souvenirs. Its building is recognized as one of the “blue plagues” of the Yangon Heritage Buildings. We then proceed to Musmeah Yeshua Synagogue which is the last remaining Jewish house of worship in downtown Yangon, and Burma’s only synagogue. Time permitted we will also visit temples such as the Shri Kali Hindu temple, the Chinese Guanyin Temple, and the Chauk Htat Gyi Pagoda with its 66 meters long reclining Buddha – one of the largest in Myanmar. Our day will end at Shwedagon Pagoda, which is the most sacred Buddhist pagoda in Myanmar and surrounded by an array of temples, shrines, and pavilions. Afterwards, we return to the hotel to relax.
Day 2 : Yangon – Pyay – Sri Ksetra
Leaving the hotel early in the morning we drive 280 km (5 hours) to Pyay (also known as Prome), situated near the ancient capital of Sri Kestra (a UNESCO Heritage Site), where extensive archaeological excavations have taken place. An optional visit is possible to the British War Cemetery near Htauk Kyan. Just short of Pyay, we will visit Shwemyetmhan Pagoda (Shwedaung) which is home to a most unusual Buddha image – one who wears gold-rimmed spectacles. In the afternoon, we will visit the bustling central market, a cheroot making factory, and Shwesandaw Pagoda. This Pagoda is similar in design to Shwezigon in Bagan and is one of the most sacred Buddhist pilgrimage sites in Myanmar. An enormous seated Buddha figure rises up from the tree-lined road adjacent to Shwesandaw Pagoda. We overnight in Pyay.
Day 3 : Pyay – Akauk Taung sightseeing
Early morning we drive to the outskirts of Pyay and cross the new bridge to Htone Bo Village and then continue by local boat to Akauk Taung to see Buddha images carved into rocks overlooking the Ayeyarwaddy River. Hundreds of niches in the cliff-face are filled with Buddha images of all shapes and sizes – many of them have been carved out of the rocks. We will also explore villages and typical rural life in the area. We return to Pyay and in the afternoon drive out of Pyay to visit the site of the ancient Pyu Kingdom of Sri Ksetra (by ox carts if available) and the tiny museum which houses artefacts unearthed in Sri Ksetra. There are two huge conical stupas, Payagyi and Payama, close to the museum. We will visit Bawbawgyi Pagoda, a special site to visit in this region because of its ancient history. We overnight in Pyay.
Day 4 : Pyay – Magway – Yenangyaung
After breakfast we drive to Yeanangyaung (250 km, 6 hours) and en route we will pass the small towns of Aung Lan and Magway, well known for their production of groundnut and sesame oils, earning themselves the nickname of ‘oil pot of Myanmar’. We will stop for lunch and then visit the famous Mya Tha Lun Pagoda on the banks of the Ayeyarwaddy River. From there we continue to Yenangyaung where we will overnight.
Day 5 : Yenangyaung – Salay – Bagan
After breakfast we will walk down the road from our guesthouse to visit the Light of Love Private High School. We will meet the school children (mostly orphans) and village people, get local exposure, and also encourage and empower them. We then set out to explore the local fresh market and brick factory. Yenangyaung produces most of the oil and natural gas in Myanmar, so we will visit its hand-dug wells, oil rigs and gas fields which are still operating since the colonial period. We then go to Salay where you can learn more about monastic lives at the Yoke Sone Kyaung Monastery which is famous for its fine wood curves. Next, we will continue to Shinpinsarkyo Paya about 5 km southwest of town. Shinpinsarkyo Paya is known for its original wood carvings. Afterwards we will drive back to Bagan where we overnight.
Day 6 : Bagan sightseeing
We start the day at the colourful market where villagers gather every day to buy and sell their products. We then continue to the golden stupa of the Shwezigon Pagoda for an introduction to Bagan’s rich history. We will visit the nearby Wetkyi-In Gubyaukgyi Temple with its exquisite Jataka mural paintings and also the elegant Htilominlo Temple noted for its fine plaster carvings and glazed sandstone decorations. After lunch we head back to the hotel to refresh. The afternoon starts with a visit to the Ananda Temple, an architectural masterpiece and one of Bagan’s most beautiful temples. Built in the early Mon-Myanmar style, Ananda contains two unique Buddha images whose expressions seem to change depending on the distance from which the statue is viewed. Next is Thatbyinnyu, the highest temple in Bagan and the massive Dhammayangyi Temple noted for its remarkable brickwork. Enjoy an unforgettable sunset over the Nyaung Lat Phet Hill. We again overnight in Bagan.
Day 7 : Bagan – Mount Popa – Mandalay
After breakfast we will drive from Bagan to Mandalay and on the way visit Mount Popa where we will hike up the stairs to the Mahagiri Shrine dedicated to the “Nats” (spirits). The panoramic views from the top is beautiful. We then continue to the hotel in Mandalay where we overnight.
Day 8 : Amarapura – Mandalay sightseeing and departure
After breakfast we visit Maha Muni Pagoda, famous for its life-like Buddha image. We continue to Ku Tho Daw Pagoda, known as the “world’s biggest book” and then enjoy the panoramic views of Mandalay City from Mandalay Hill. We then visit Mahargandayone Monastery and then drive to U Bein Bridge, made of teak logs and planks over 200 years ago by Mayor U Bein. Afterwards we transfer to the airport for the departure flight.
Inclusion And Exclusion
- 7 nights hotel accommodation with breakfast
- Air conditioning car with driver for sightseeing
- English speaking station guides for sightseeing
- Private Boat to AkaukTaung, Pyay
- Entrance fees and zone fees
- Water and refreshment towel on tour
- Toll fee and fuel charges for car
- Government tax and service charges
- Tourist visa
- Personal expenses
- Food and beverages (Except breakfast where mentioned)
- Travel insurance
- Items not mentioned in “services included”