Departure : Daily

Not immediately beautiful but rather hot, Mandalay is primarily used by travellers as a transport and day-trip hub. Mandalay is Myanmar's  second-largest city and the last royal capital of Burma. The city is Located  some 716 km north of Yangon on the east bank of the Irrawaddy River.

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Mandalay Express

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Departure : Daily

Not immediately beautiful but rather hot, Mandalay is primarily used by travellers as a transport and day-trip hub. Mandalay is Myanmar's  second-largest city and the last royal capital of Burma. The city is Located  some 716 km north of Yangon on the east bank of the Irrawaddy River.

$ 1,250 Tax included

Day 1 - Arrive Mandalay

Upon arrival in Mandalay airport you will be met by your guide and driver.

Then continue south of the city to Ava, the capital from 14th to 18th centuries, where a short ferry ride will take us across the river to where our horse and carriage are waiting. Visit the old wooden Bagaya Monastery and the remains of the Royal Palace and Fort. There are many small villages located amid Ava’s ruins and as you travel by horse and cart you’ll get a glimpse of local life in the Burmese countryside. We’ll stop for lunch in Ava before returning to our car.

Return toward the city and stop at Amarapura, a former capital whose name means ‘City of Immortality’. First visit a silk weaving workshop.  After touring this tranquil site, continue to U Bein Bridge for a walk along this 200 year-old teak bridge. The bridge was constructed of 984 teak posts that were once part of the deserted Inwa Palace and it is 1.2 kilometers in length making it the world’s longest teak span. Enjoy a stroll along the bridge and the fabulous views of the surrounding farms and streams.

Overnight in Mandalay.

Day 2 - Mandalay (B)

After breakfast your Exotissimo guide will pick you up at the hotel to get started on an incredible morning.  Transfer to 86th street for a walking tour of the surrounding streets.  Mandalay has become a bustling city as it is strategically located in the northern Myanmar, nearby the ruby, gold and jade mines.  This position has allowed the jade industry to flourish as merchants from China, India and Thailand coalesce.  Afterwards we will visit the market, discovering white, yellow and green jade. The precious gem can be found in all forms, from its raw, unpolished state to beautiful handcrafted jewelry.  Watch as skilled craftsman cut and polish the stone on wet saws and sellers and buyers haggle over price. Our visit coincides with the busiest time of the day at the jade market.  Your guide will help you negotiate if you wish to bring one of the precious gemstones home. 

Continue to Mahamuni Pagoda. This pagoda is home to one of the country’s most revered Buddha images which, over the years, have been covered with gold leaf giving it an almost ‘lumpy’ texture. Mandalay is well known for its skilled craftsmen and as you tour traditional workshops, you will learn more about the city’s cottage industries. Observe the production of wood carvings, kalagatapestries, and gold-leaf where the techniques remained unchanged from those used centuries ago to craft items for the Royal Court. 

Next visit to Kuthodaw Pagoda, whose 729 marble stone slabs of Buddhist scriptures have earned it the title ‘World’s Biggest Book’. Walk onwards to Shwenandaw Monastery, the only remaining building from the 19th century Royal Palace. This grand teak building is known for its exquisite woodcarving.

Head to the top of Mandalay Hill as the sun begins to set to enjoy magnificent views of the city and Irrawaddy River.

Overnight in Mandalay.

Day 3 - Mandalay - Heho - Inle Lake (B)

After breakfast, transfer to Mandalay Airport for a flight to Heho where a scenic one-hour drive leads to NyaungShwe, the gateway village to Inle Lake. Along the way, stop at the wooden Shwe Yan Pyay Monastery which features beautiful carvings and a collection of Buddha images.

Depending on arrival time you may be able to visit the NyaungShwe morning market where locals gather every morning to buy and sell fresh produce from the lake and its surroundings.

Continue by local trishaw down to the bustling canal which is a hive of activity in the morning as boats from the lake come in to unload tomatoes and other vegetables for distribution to the markets around the country. Watch as baskets laden with produce are transferred from boats to trucks and bikes.

Hop back on the trishaw and wind through quiet streets. Make a stop at the ‘tomato house’, a warehouse-like structure where the tomatoes are sorted and priced for sale. Then continue past some of the many monasteries and nunneries in the town, stopping for photos as you go.

Upon reaching the edges of Inle Lake, board a private motorboat to head out to Inle Lake, one of Myanmar’s most spectacular sights. Pass villages built on stilts over the lake, inhabited by the local Intha people. Observe the leg-rowing fishermen and see their floating gardens built up from strips of water hyacinth and mud and anchored to the bottom with bamboo poles. Visit PhaungDawOo Pagoda, the lake’s main sanctuary, which contains five sacred Buddha images covered in gold leaf. 

Then return to land for your overnight stay.

Overnight in NyaungShwe.

Day 4 - Inle Lake - In Dein - Inle Lake (B)

After breakfast, visit the lake’s morning market. The market rotates its location around the lake’s villages in a 5 day rhythm and is visited by lake inhabitants and surrounding hill tribes who come to sell and trade their wares. (Note: market is daily except on dark moon day and full moon day).

From the middle of the lake, continue down a small canal leading to the Pa-oh village of In Dein.  Explore the area on foot, strolling around the village, and wander through the beautiful AlaungSitthou area.  Here you can climb the covered stairway to the top of a hill which is covered with picturesque ancient stupas and has magnificent views of the lake below.

After enjoying your visit to In Dein, return to your boat. Continue along the lake for additional sightseeing before returning to your hotel this afternoon.  

Overnight in NyaungShwe.

Day 5 - Inle Lake - Heho - Bagan (B)

This morning is at your leisure to further explore NyaungShwe. Should you wish to book a boat for the morning it can be arrange for a surcharge.

OPTION:Biking and Wine Tasting- Bike from NyaungShwe to Red Mountain Estate, a winery tucked in the Shan Hills. The ride takes you along quiet, flat roads (around 5-10km depending on hotel location) past farms and villages. Reach the winery and enjoy a tour followed by an optional wine tasting. Return by bike to your hotel or meet your car for the airport transfer. (Note: Maximum 10 persons due to bike availability)

Just after lunch time transfer to Heho Airport for the 1.5 hour flight to Bagan. Upon arrival, your car and guide will be waiting to transfer you to your hotel.

Overnight in Bagan.

Day 6 - Bagan (B)

Today, your journey begins with a visit to an elevated temple from where you will have a panoramic view of the magnificent plains of Bagan. Continue to the colorful NyaungOo Market where every day the locals come to buy and sell fresh produce and other goods. Take a walk here to the local village where you will see the product of pone yehgyiand other local treats.

Then continue to the golden stupa of Shwezigon Pagoda for an introduction in to Bagan’s rich history. Continue to nearby Wetkyi-In Gubyaukgyi, a cave temple with exquisite jataka mural paintings and the elegant Htilominlo Temple noted for its fine plaster carvings and glazed sandstone decorations.

Then visit a traditional lacquer ware workshop where you can observe the production of one of Myanmar’s best-known handicrafts. Continue to Ananda Temple, an architectural masterpiece and one of Bagan’s most beautiful temples.  Built in the early Mon-style, Ananda contains two unique Buddha images whose expressions seem to change depending on the distance from which the statue is viewed.

Take a break midday for lunch (own account) and to escape the midday heat.                                                                                                                                               

Board a private river boat and set off upriver toward KyaukGu U Min. Throughout your Irrawaddy river cruise you will be treated to fabulous scenes of life on the water: fishermen, local ferry boats, riverside villages and views of the Bagan temples. You’ll stop at SaeLan village and go ashore for a short walk. SaeLan is typical of the riverside villages along the Irrawaddy. The friendly people work as farmers and fishermen, living a simple but happy life.

Continue by boat to KyaukGu U Min on the eastern side of the river where a five to ten minute walk takes us to the temple. This beautiful temple has exquisite stone carvings depicting religious figures and flowers on the door. The temple itself is built against the side of cliff, so behind the main hall of the temple you can enter a cave. Inside the cave there are several small niches where individuals can practice meditation. Legend states that the cave was built during the 13th century for the locals to hide from the invading Mongols.

After your exploration of KyaukGu U Min, you’ll return to the boat for a relaxing cruise back to Bagan (around 1 hour). Transfer back to your hotel upon reaching Bagan.

Overnight in Bagan.

Day 7 - Bagan - Yangon - Departure (B)

After breakfast this morning transfer to the airport for the flight to Yangon.

Upon arrival, your guide and driver will pick you up at the airport and you’ll venture downtown to explore the city centre and its fabulous mix of architecture and sites. The streets are filled with historical buildings many of which have a faded colonial charm not seen elsewhere in Asia. You’ll start at the post office – a lovely historic building- and walk to SulePaya in the middle of downtown, passing by Strand Hotel, Mahabandoola Garden and Independence Monument along the way. Then visit Little India and Chinatown, a colorful cacophony of restaurants, temples and markets. Reach Bogyoke Market, formerly known as Scott’s Market, where there is time to browse through the dozens of stalls and shops. This is Yangon’s best market for handicrafts and other goods.  (Note: Market is closed on Mondays and public holidays).

From here, continue to Shwedagon Pagoda the most revered Buddhist temple in Myanmar. Although the origins of the pagoda are unclear, the local legend states that the original structure was built 2500 years ago then renovated several times until taking its current shape in the 15th century. The 8-sided central stupa is 99 meters tall and gilded with gold leaf and is surrounded by 64 smaller stupas and your guide will show you around the massive complex, explaining why this temple is so revered. Enjoy breathtaking views of the golden stupa from this vantage point.      

Return to the international airport for your onward flight.

 

 

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Mandalay Express

Mandalay Express

Departure : Daily

Not immediately beautiful but rather hot, Mandalay is primarily used by travellers as a transport and day-trip hub. Mandalay is Myanmar's  second-largest city and the last royal capital of Burma. The city is Located  some 716 km north of Yangon on the east bank of the Irrawaddy River.

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