Arrive any time today. An arrival transfer is included. Today is arrival day so there are no activities planned. You are free to relax and explore the city.
Fly to Mandalay and explore this ancient city, including the Golden Palace Monastery, Kuyuk Taw Gyi Pagoda, Kuthodaw Pagoda, and Mahamuni Temple. Climb Mandalay Hill for magnificent views of the surrounding countryside.
Take a boat to the village of Mingun to visit the pagodas and local craftspeople. Visit the spiritual centre of Myanmar at Sagaing and the ancient royal capital of Amarapura. Embark on a boat trip up the Irrawaddy River from Mandalay to the riverside village of Mingun, enjoying the picturesque scenery of this river and the lifestyles of the local people who live and work on these waters. We continue by road to Sagaing. After lunch we visit Amarapura, a former capital whose name means "city of immortality."
Continue exploring Mandalay and take some free time on your own.
Relax and watch the sights on a full-day cruise down the Irrawaddy River to ancient Bagan. After breakfast at the hotel, transfer to the jetty for the boat to Bagan (Nyaung Oo). The journey takes 7-11 hours depending on the time of year and water level. On board there is a small cafe selling drinks and light meals (sandwiches, snacks and instant noodles usually).
Explore the ancient sites of Bagan including Shwezigon Pagoda, Gubyaukgyi (Wetkyi-in) cave temple, and Manuha and Nan Paya temples. Also visit Kyan Sithar Umin monastery where we have a talk with a monk on Buddhism and daily life. Enjoy two days exploring Bagan, the first (and very beautiful) capital of the Burmese and founded in the 11th century. This is one the most important temples and pagoda complexes in Asia. We'll wander local markets, historical pagodas, a handicraft workshop, a local monastery, and ancient temples.
Travel to the outskirts of town to a village in the middle of a toddy palm farm. Watch as the locals scale the trees and harvest the juice of the palm fruit and then process it into alcohol or molasses. You have the option to take a hot-air balloon flight over the plains of Bagan.
Travel by plane, bus, and boat to serene Inle Lake. En route, visit Shwe Yan Pyay Monastery, Nyaung Shwe by cycle rickshaw, and observe floating villages and gardens. This morning, fly from Bagan to Heho and then travel by road to Nyaung Shwe, 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. Also visit around Nyaung Shwe by cycle rickshaw, passing the many monasteries and cruising along quiet residential streets.
We then board a boat and set off down the canal toward the main part of the lake, passing villages built on stilts over the lake, inhabited by the local Intha people.
Explore the lake by boat and visit the morning market, floating villages, and a cheroot factory, as well as the Phaung Daw Oo pagoda and Inthien temple complex. Along the way, visit the home of a local chef and learn the basics of Burmese cooking. Sit back and relax in this charming setting on Inle Lake and enjoy a scrumptious home-cooked meal. Depending on its location, we start with a visit to the morning market, which rotates locations on a five-day basis. (Note: there are no markets on full-moon or dark-moon days.)
Our boat then takes us down a winding river to Inthien, with its one thousand stupas dotting the hillside. Back out onto the lake we visit Phaung Daw Oo Pagoda, the lake's main pagoda and monastery, which contains five sacred Buddha images covered in gold leaf. Explore the local crafts of Inle Lake with a stop at the weaving village of Inpawkhone and a cheroot factory, where typical Burmese cigars are made by hand. Mid-day, we are welcomed into a local chef's home and enjoy a home cooked meal of traditional Burmese dishes. This is a memorable demonstration and meal and a chance to learn more about family life and traditions in Myanmar.
Travel by boat and bus to the cooler air of this former British hill station. Enjoy some free time in the afternoon.
Fly back to Yangon and visit the stunning Shwedagon Pagoda, then take some free time to explore and shop in the old capital. Tonight, enjoy a lecture and farewell dinner at a G Adventures for Good-supported project ?? LinkAge Restaurant. This social enterprise trains local youth for careers in the hospitality industry.