28 September 2016
Myanmar is a country so rich in spectacular architecture and natural beauty that it's worth taking your time to really explore it. This 10-day tour is packed with unforgettable experiences, taking in breathtaking temples and pagodas, a cruise on the beautiful Irrawaddy River, and plenty of chances to meet local people and learn about their lives at markets and workshops.
Your tour begins today as you're met on arrival at Yangon Airport and transferred to your hotel. Once you've checked in, you have the rest of the day at leisure to explore Myanmar's former capital.
After breakfast you'll head off with your guide to explore downtown Yangon. Here you'll be able to admire the magnificent colonial buildings, as well as the 2,000-year-old Sule Pagoda and Bogyoke Aung San Market, which sells a huge range of handicrafts. After lunch at a local restaurant, you'll visit the huge reclining Buddha at Chauk Htat Kyi, then continue on to the General Aung San Museum to learn more about the country's struggle for independence. Afterwards, you'll visit the truly spectacular Shwedagon Pagoda, covered with hundreds of gold plates and encrusted with 4,531 diamonds.
Early this morning you will be met at your hotel and driven north along the Yangon-Bagan Highway to Pyay. You'll stop en route at the small town of Shwedaung, home to the famous Shwemyetman Paya, or "Paya of the Golden Spectacles", on account of its Buddha statue, who wears a pair of gold-rimmed glasses.
This morning you'll explore Pyay, an attractive town located on the Ayeyarwady River. You'll visit the hilltop Shwesandaw Paya, one of Myanmar's most important sites of pilgrimage, and wander through the bustling central market before you continue on to Bagan.
Bagan boasts more than 2,000 pagodas, temples and monasteries – today you'll have the chance to explore some of the most spectacular, including Gubyauknge Temple, with its excellent stucco carvings, the impressive Htilominlo Pahto and Ananda Pahto, one the area's best-preserved temples. Bagan is also famous for its handicrafts and lacquerware, so after lunch you'll have the chance to visit a local workshop. As the sun begins to set, you'll climb to the top of one of the temples to take in the magnificent views.
This morning begins with a visit to Phwar Saw Village, to experience rural Burmese life, with a stop en route at the bustling Nyaung Oo market. After lunch in a local restaurant, you'll visit more stunning temples, travelling by horse cart, which enables you to explore some of the lesser-visited areas which cannot be reached by car. You'll end the day with a sunset cruise on the Irrawaddy River before returning to your hotel.
After breakfast, you'll transfer to Bagan jetty for your river cruise to Pokakku, on the western bank of the Ayeyarwady. After a brief look around this quiet town, you'll continue by road to Pon Win Daung, to view the collection of over 400 Buddha images carved into the limestone hillside, some of them dating back to the 17th century. After time to admire this beautiful location, you'll continue to Monywa for the night.
This morning there's time to explore some of the attractions in the countryside surrounding Monywa, including the 42ft standing Buddha at Bodhi Tataung, before beginning your journey to Mandalay. En route, you'll stop at the 20th-century Thanboddhay Pagoda, a Buddhist temple complex located within the Mohnyin Forest Monastery retreat. You'll also visit the Bodhi Tree Forest, where each tree has a Buddha statue beside it, and take the short stroll to the Po Khaung Taung, a range of hills from where you can enjoy the views of the Bodhi Tataung Buddah. You'll arrive in Mandalay in time for lunch, after which you'll head to Amarapura township, Myanmar's former capital. Here you'll visit the iconic U Bien’s Bridge, which spans Taungthaman Lake and is the longest teak footbridge in the world.
Today you'll explore Mandalay, Myanmar's second-largest city, known as the country's cultural capital. You'll visit the spiritually important Mahamuni Pagoda, which houses one of Myanmar's most famous seated Buddha images, and the Shwenandaw Kyaung (Golden Palace Monastery). After lunch in a local restaurant you'll continue to Kuthodaw Pagoda, which is said to house the world's largest book: 729 marble slabs inscribed with Buddhist scriptures. You'll end the day with a drive to the top of Mandalay Hill to watch the sun set over the city.
You're at leisure this morning until your transfer to the airport for your onward journey.
Standard fr £1559pp
Superior fr £1667pp
Deluxe fr £1962pp
Rates based on twinshare
International flights not included unless otherwise stated