Now is the right time to visit this beautiful and still untouched corner of South East Asia. Offering the absolute best of Myanmar, this wonderful journey will take you right into the heart of a friendly land where genuine hospitality abounds. Our adventure begins in the charming colonial city of Yangon, before flying to Mandalay to explore this city set on the banks of the Irrawaddy. The highlights are numerous - we enjoy the view of the city from Mandalay Hill and the 600 painted pagodas and monasteries at Sagaing. Continuing to Mount Popa we get off the beaten track and see the real culture and traditions of Myanmar. The highlight of the trip is undoubtedly Bagan, which is considered by many to be the finest collection of temples in Asia, and we have ample time to explore this incredible area by foot and by bike, which is an experience not soon forgotten. This is an adventure to get excited over!
Mingalarbar! Upon arrival in Yangon, you will be welcomed by your World Youth Adventures tour leader and transferred to your hotel for check-in. After a trip briefing and Welcome Meeting, tonight a special evening is planned as we visit one of the world’s most spectacular monuments, the Shwedagon Pagoda, a gleaming bell dome structure that dominates the city’s skyline. Legends state that the sacred hairs of the Buddha are enshrined here. The Shwedagon is an iconic symbol of the country, a sight not to be missed. So what’s behind the golden façade of the Shwedagon Pagoda? During this tour we take you through this wonderful site and show you the full history of the pagoda, the daily life of all people living in its immediate surroundings and gain a deeper insight in the Buddhist religion and how the spiritual belief is mixed with the belief in nats – the Myanmar spirits. After our visit, we will enjoy dinner at local restaurant.
Overnight: Hotel Yankin
Today’s visits include national hero Aung San’s home museum which is also Aung San Suu Kyi’s childhood home and then we continue to Kandawgyi Park for a photo of the Hamsa bird shaped royal barge. Next we visit the National Museum where you can see some of the royal regalia from the last kingdom of Burma and learn about the diverse people of Myanmar. Enjoy your lunch at the House of Memories Restaurant which used to be Aung San’s office. After our morning sightseeing, we transfer to Yangon airport for an afternoon flight to Mandalay. On arrival in Mandalay, we transfer to the hotel for check-in and enjoy dinner at a local restaurant.
Overnight: Oway Grand Hotel
Mandalay and the other former royal capitals around it have all been capital cities for one major reason: they are situated on the Ayeyarwaddy River (Irrawaddy). Feel the breeze of the river and imagine how it must have been to arrive by boat at the court of Ava. After breakfast, we have an excursion to Amarapura, the old royal city before Mandalay which is famous for its textile industries. Firstly we visit the Maha-gandayon Monastery (Buddhist University) where you can observe the process of serving lunch to hundreds of monks who take their last meal of the day at 10:00 AM. After that, we proceed to a cottage industry workshop to learn how Myanmar longyis and traditional fabrics are woven. Continuing to the Ubein Bridge, a simple yet remarkable teak structure that spans 1.2km over Taungtaman Lake, we have the option to be rowed onto the calm waters.
In the afternoon, we visit the sacred Mahamuni Pagoda, housing one of the most significant Buddha images covered in several tons of gold leaf and the crown prize in wars between competing kingdoms; the Golden Palace Monastery, the sole surviving Royal Palace building in Mandalay, offering a glimpse of the original style and architecture of the Myanmar royals; and lastly, the Kuthodaw Pagoda, a compound housing Buddha’s teachings carved in the sacred Pali script on stone tablets and regarded the world’s largest book in terms of surface area. We end our day with sunset panoramic views over the city skyline on Mandalay Hill, the highest point of the city.
Overnight: Oway Grand Hotel
This morning, we leave Mandalay and drive approximately 4hours to Mount Popa, the Burmese spiritual epicenter for those who worship the pantheon of Nat spirits and martyrs. After paying respects to the Nat spirits shrine at the foot of Mount Popa, we climb nearly 800 steps to the pagoda perched at the top of the mountain to admire the beautiful views of the surrounding plains and farm lands.
We will also visit Paleik on the way to Mt Popa. The snake temple in Paleik is known for the 3 pythons sleeping at the Buddha statue. Lesser known are the ancient temple ruins in the same area, many of them over 200 years old and partly overgrown by vegetation. It’s a sort of “mini Bagan” and you will probably find yourself alone, feeling like the first foreigner ever to discover this place, surrounded by temples. After visiting Paleik we continue to Mount Popa which is one of the "must see" places to be visited in the surroundings of Bagan as it is the birth place of the 37 “nats” of Myanmar which are the protective spirits.
Overnight: Popa Mountain Resort
This morning, we drive to beautiful Bagan. On arrival in Bagan, we transfer to our hotel for check-in before starting our half day tour by private vehicle, with an experienced guide. Today you will see the best known temples of the area. The guide plans his way to some of the other amazing temples that have been here for hundreds of years. Places like the Ananda, Dhammayangyi, Sulamani, and Thatbyinnyu will certainly impress you! On the way back to our hotel, we stop at a family run toddy shop. Here you can see how palm sugar juice toddy is harvested and made to rich and caramel-like toddy candies. Note: Toddy harvesting is seasonal and the family working hours and habits vary. So consider this as extra activity that is subject to availability.
Tonight you will enjoy dinner at Nanda Restaurant with a cultural puppet show.
Overnight at Bawgatheiddhi Hotel
Bagan is a stunning landscape of ancient temple ruins that seem to be spread around randomly in between toddy palms and bamboo huts. During this half day tour on a bike, your guide will show you some of the most spectacular sceneries of ancient temples and best of all, you can stop any time, any minute, to take beautiful pictures as there is no rush. Todays cycle is on flat, dusty pathways and all at an easy pace. The ride will also lead us to small hidden neighbourhoods and trails to experience authentic local life of Bagan,some of the lesser known temples as well as some of the most famous sights of Bagan.
Overnight at Bawgatheiddhi Hotel
After breakfast at the hotel, we transfer to Nyaung U airport for our flight to Yangon. Due to flight schedules between Yangon and Manila, your flight departs very early morning (01:10am) the next day (Please note that international flights are not included - this is the recommend flight with Philippine Airlines that you will need to book). We therefore have hotel rooms for the day to store our bags and shower if necessary, before our flight later this evening/early morning.
Back in Yangon, we will enjoy some local cuisine for lunch at a local restaurant and in the afternoon, visit Bogyoke (Scotts) Market, where hundreds of gemstone, handicrafts, art, clothes and food stores are tucked in a maze of color. (Please note that the market is closed on Mondays and on public holidays). Next you will explore Yangon’s colonial past on a Yangon Heritage Trust’s walking tour in the old quarter where many old beautiful buildings remain. Yangon downtown is unique with much of its colonial-era architecture still standing. You will find one of Asia’s most impressive collections of late nineteenth and early twentieth- century buildings, religious and secular. Starting in the early afternoon this walking tour will take you through downtown Yangon, focusing on its old colonial buildings. Your guide will walk you through the back streets in a relaxed tempo and explain you the history of each building some of them empty, some getting restored and some used for different purposes than when built. This walk along the streets of Yangon will at least architecturally take you a step back in time.
We also have dinner included tonight a local restaurant and then return back to hotel to freshen up, relax and pack our bags. We will transfer to Yangon International Airport for your departure. All services conclude upon arriving at Yangon Airport yet the memories will last a lifetime!
Trip concludes on arrival at Yangon airport
Per Person, Twin Share